Life and works of one the most controversial malacologists of the 19th century

[Bourguignat, J. B.] Servain, G. (ed.)

Oeuvres scientifiques de M. J.-R. Bourguignat. Précédés d'une préface biographique par le Dr. Georges Servain. Président de la Société malacologique de France. [With two original, signed letters by Bourguignat].

Published 1891
Item ID 75458

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Paris, D. Dumoulin, 1891. 8vo (23.6 x 15.5 cm). ix, 256 pp. Green buckram with gilt title on the spine. Speckled edges. Original printed wrappers bound in.

The biography and bibliography of one the most controversial malacologists of the 19th century, the founder of the Nouvelle École, Jules-René Bourguignat (1829-1892). This work is authored by the French malacologist Georges Servain (1846-after 1891), but known to be written by Bourguignat himself. The Nouvelle École proposed that species did not really exist, but were merely a manmade concept, and to be rightfully named, a shell should differ from similar ones in at least three characteristics. In practice, this meant that many infrasubspecific groups were named, including colour forms, teratological specimens, or just specimens that happened to be at the extreme end of a biological species' variability. Bourguignat's approach was much condemned during the mid-20th century (see e.g., Dance). However, when molecular data became available in the late 20th century, many a Nouvelle École synonym turned out to be a valid species or subspecies after all. This work lists 115 papers by Bourguignat, and a list of his new genera (with derivations), and species. Two handwritten, signed and dated letters by Bourguignat tipped in: one dated 4 January 1869 on the front free endpaper recto; the other dated 11 January 1869 on the rear free endpaper verso. Both addressed (by inference) to the French malacologist Jean-Baptiste Noulet (1802-1890), author of the Mémoires sur les coquilles fossilles des terrains d'eau douce du sud-ouest de la France, of which Bourguignat acknowledges reception in the second letter (omitting des terrains d'eau douce from the title). Further topics include Bourguignat's work, Mollusques de San-Julia de Loria - sent to Noulet, and the fossil bear, Ursus bourguignati, a species described by Lartet, two years earlier. From the library of the American malacologist and malaco-historian Richard Irwin Johnson (1925-2020), with his pencilled annotations; mostly simply marking the papers present in his library, but also remarks on the state of his copy (a few "xeroxed") and a correction to Servain's work. S. P. Dance (1968) J. R. Bourguignat's Malacologie de l'Algérie, 1863-4(in J. Soc. Biblphy Nat. Hist. 5).

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