Tracts on the Natural History of Animals and Vegetables, translated from the original Italian…by John Graham Dalyell. With physiological illustrations by the translator. Second edition.
Edinburgh: Printed for William Creech and Archd. Constable… 1803
2 volumes, 8vo, pp. xii, 1 leaf, pp. lxxi, 334, 1 leaf (blank); 2 leaves, pp. 456, and 11 engraved plates. Contemporary red straight-grained morocco, gilt edges, marbled endpapers. Bookplate of Marshall Laird. Paper of plates browned, one or two small scuff marks on the covers, spines very slightly faded, but a lovely set. The translator’s copy, with his arms in gilt in the top panels of the spine.
BEST EDITION IN ENGLISH (the second edition of this translation), being enlarged to twice the size of the former edition by original matter by the translator, and by tracts on reproduction of the snail and the newt by Spallanzani and by Charles BONNET. There are also five additional plates, and an “Analytical Index” of concepts. See G&M 102 (the original Opuscoli di fisica, animali e vegetabile, Modena, 1776), in which Spallanzani finalised his work on the animalcules of infusions: “Spallanzani’s conclusions were similar to those expressed by Pasteur nearly a century later.” Also included in this translation are his observations and experiments on human and animal spermatozoa; he was one of the earliest naturalists actually to examine and to write about the spermatozoa. He also reports on the effects of stagnant air on animal and plant life, the killing and resuscitation of Rotifera, the origin of mould, and the reproduction of the head of the snail. This work was one of Spallanzani’s most outstanding publications, which “displayed unexcelled experimental skill, remarkable powers of observation, and lucid literary talent” (DSB). Prandi, Bibliografia, 95.
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