Manhattan Rare Book Company Archives - Rare Book Insider
last 7 days
last 30 days

Manhattan Rare Book Company

Marching Streets"; "The Pope at Confession"; "My First Love"; IN: A Book of Princeton Verse II

Marching Streets”; “The Pope at Confession”; “My First Love”; IN: A Book of Princeton Verse II

FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD'S FIRST APPEARANCE IN A BOOK. A REMARKABLE COPY IN THE SCARCE DUST JACKET. The summer of 1919 represented a time of crisis for the 22-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald. He had left Princeton to enroll in the U.S. Army, but the war ended before he had seen any action; he had met and become infatuated with the socialite Zelda Sayre, but was rejected by her because of his lack of financial prospects. By early summer he quit his job in New York and returned to St. Paul to stake everything on completing his novel-in-progress (This Side of Paradise). Desperate for money, recognition, and Zelda, Fitzgerald called the summer of 1919 his "summer of despair," but everything was about to change. "That summer Fitzgerald achieved his first appearance in a book when Princeton Verse II was published. His three [poetic] contributions-'Marching Streets,' 'The Pope at Confession,' and 'My First Love,'" appeared on pages 81-84. "The pleasure of publication may have been diminished by the circumstance that all of his poems were signed 'T. Scott Fitzgerald.'" (Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, 102). The authorial credit also refers to Fitzgerald as part of the Princeton class of 1918, but he never did graduate. The appearance in Princeton Verse II represents one of the final moments before Fitzgerald was catapulted to stardom. By July 26, he had completed the first draft of his novel, and on September 16 it was accepted by Scribner's. His "summer of despair" was over-the novel, This Side of Paradise would be published in 1920 to great success, making Fitzgerald famous almost overnight. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1919. Octavo, original green cloth, original printed dust jacket; custom red cloth box. Cloth with mild crease to front board and a few spots of discoloration to rear board; gilt exceptionally bright. Dust jacket- which is almost always lacking- in nearly perfect condition with only tiny separation at extremities of folds. A remarkable survival, without question the finest copy we've seen. Original cloth, original dust jacket
Relation of a Voyage from Boston to Newfoundland

Relation of a Voyage from Boston to Newfoundland, for the Observation of the Transit of Venus, June 6, 1761

WINTHROP, JOHN VERY RARE FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST PUBLICLY FUNDED AMERICAN SCIENCE EXPEDITION: JOHN WINTHROP'S VOYAGE TO NEWFOUNDLAND TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INTERNATIONAL EFFORT TO TIME THE 1761 TRANSIT OF VENUS AND THUS DETERMINE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE SUN. A LIKELY PRESENTATION COPY FROM JOHN WINTHROP TO NATHANIEL APPLETON. Transits of Venus and Their Importance: By chance, the Sun is about 400 times larger in diameter than the Moon, and about 400 times farther from the Earth. As a result, the two bodies have roughly the same apparent size; and on the rare occasions when the Moon is located directly between the Sun and Earth, the Sun is blotted out, with only its corona visible - thus, a total eclipse. Other objects in the solar system do not have such a precisely calibrated relationship between their size and distance from the Earth, and as a result when they pass between the Earth and the Sun, their passage, when visible at all to earthbound astronomers, appears as a small black dot moving across the Sun's face. This phenomenon is known as a transit. Since Mercury and Venus are the only two significant celestial objects that pass between the Earth and Sun (setting aside the Moon and the occasional comet), it is only those planets that are observed to transit the Sun. In 1716 Edmond Halley published a paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (written in Latin, then the international language of science, and titled "Methodus singularis qua Solis Parallaxis sive distantia a Terra .") in which he argued that precise measurements of the timing of a transit of Venus could be used to determine the "solar parallax" - that is, the angle that the Earth would subtend if it could be viewed from the surface of the Sun. The magnitude of the solar parallax could then be used to determine the absolute distance from the Earth to the Sun. At the time, that distance was known only in relative terms, as a fraction or multiple of some other astronomical distance, such as planetary radii, distances between planets, or distances between other planets and the Sun. "Halley had propounded the revolutionary idea that Venus's transit could be used as a natural astronomical instrument - almost a celestial yardstick. If several people around the world were simultaneously to watch the entire transit from different places as far apart as possible, he explained, they would each see Venus traversing the sun along a slightly different track - dependent upon the observers' locations in the northern or the southern hemispheres. Venus's path would be shorter - or longer - across the sun according to each viewing station. With the help of trigonometry, these different tracks (and the differences in the duration of Venus's transit) could then be used to calculate the distance between the sun and the earth." Andrea Wulf, Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens (2012), p. 5. Halley, who had compiled a table of past and expected future occurrences of the transit of Venus, realized that such transits were extremely rare events. "Because the orbits of Venus and earth have different inclinations, Venus usually passes above or below the sun ." Transits occur in pairs eight years apart, and "[t]he periods between the pairs of transits alternate between 105 and 122 years." Halley understood that the rarity of such transits increased the importance of careful advance planning of a program for observing the ones that were expected to occur in 1761 and 1769. The next transits after the 1761/1769 pair would not occur until 1874 and 1882, and the two after that would not occur until 2004 and 2012. Wulf, op cit. Responding to Halley's proposal, a cooperative international program was organized to observe the 1761 transit from various parts of the world where it would be visible. The sole participant from the British colonies in North America was John Winthrop, whose observations of the transit are reported in the work offered here. (Participants in other parts of the world included the surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who would soon become famous for surveying the Mason-Dixon line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, and whose experiences chasing the 1761 transit are recounted in Thomas Pynchon's novel Mason and Dixon, quoted above.) John Winthrop: "John Winthrop was the son of Chief Justice Adam Winthrop of Massachusetts Bay Colony and the great-grandnephew of the first colonial Fellow of the Royal Society." (Raymond Phineas Stearns, Science in the British Colonies of America (Univ. Ill. Pr. 1970), p. 642.) In 1738, at the age of 23, he was appointed to the Hollis Professorship of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard. He held the Chair until his death in 1779. Brooke Hindle, in "The Pursuit of Science in Revolutionary America: 1735-1789" (Univ. N. Car. Press 1956) refers to him as "Colonial Harvard's finest flower in the field of science. . His writings were distinguished for their clarity and sweep as well as for their occasional flashes of brilliant insight. Alone among the teachers, Winthrop was elected to the Royal Society. He was twice offered and twice he refused the presidency of Harvard and he was suggested for the presidency of the College of Philadelphia. Ezra Stiles reflected his incredible reputation when he declared, "In Math. and nat. Phil. I believe he had not his equal in Europe." Hindle, p. 88-89. Winthrop "proved to be a careful, exact, and systematic scientist who . went beyond the classroom to inform the public at large about scientific phenomena with public lectures and demonstrations, newspaper accounts, and other publications. Within a few years, he emerged as the leading scientist in the Boston community. He collected one of the best private libraries of scientific books in the colonies. . He introduced to Harvard's mathematic curriculum the elements of fluxions (i.e., differential and integral calculus), and he stoutly endorsed Franklin's theories of
Ballet

Ballet

BRODOVITCH, ALEXEY FIRST EDITION of Brodovitch's masterpiece; of profound influence in the history of photography and photobooks. "Although known primarily as a mentor and patron of photographers, due in large part to his position as art director and graphic designer at Harper's Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch also made a legendary photobook of his own. Ballet, published in 1945 by J J Augustin in New York, has become a photobook legend for two reasons. Firstly, only a few hundred copies were printed, so the book is more talked about than actually seen. Secondly, the volume was extremely radical, both in terms of the images themselves and their incorporation into the design and layout. "The 104 pictures in Ballet had been taken by Brodovitch between 1935 and 1937. He photographed ballet companies visiting New York, including the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, with whom he worked in Paris in the 1920s. Brodovitch shot the photographs with a 35 mm Contax camera, during both rehearsals and performances, by available light, hand-held, and using shutter speeds as slow as a fifth of a second or more. This resulted in blurred images of the moving dancers and in high-contrast, grainy negatives exhibiting burnt-out areas of flare from the stage lighting. These pictures totally violated the accepted conventions of good photographic technique, which demanded a sharp rendition of the subject and a wide, smooth tonal scale. Far from trying to mitigate these shortcomings, Brodovitch deliberately exaggerated them. He printed on high-contrast paper, bleached areas with the chemical ferricyanide to create more contrast, and enlarged tiny portions of the negative to increase grain - familiar strategies in the 1950s and 60s, but not in the 1940s. "Brodovitch's layout was as radical as his pictures. He divided the book into eleven segments, each corresponding to a ballet. Every section was laid out in a continuous strip, each image bled across its own page, so that a double-page spread can often be read as a single panorama, and the whole section like a strip of movie film. This gives the book a vibrancy and a fluidity that perfectly captures the motion of the dance. Ballet is one of the most successful attempts at suggesting motion in photography, and certainly one of the most cinematic and dynamic photobooks ever published" (Parr/Badger, Vol 1; 240-1). Roth 101. Housed in a spectacular custom box by noted book artist Sjoerd Hofstra. New York: J J Augustin, 1945. Text by Edwin Denby. 104 black and white photographs. Oblong folio (8 3/4 x 11 x 1/4 in), original boards, original French fold dust jacket; custom half-leather box. Dust jacket with a few small spots of soiling and light wear to spine ends and corners; handsome small bookseller sticker ("Librairie Fischbacher") on rear flap. Interior fine. An outstanding copy of one of the most beautiful and important books in the history of photography.
On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Aether [Ether]

On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Aether [Ether]

MICHELSON, ALBERT A.; MORLEY, EDWARD W. RARE FIRST PRINTINGS, IN STUNNING CUSTOM BINDINGS, of the account and description of the famous Michelson-Morley experiment, casting doubt on many of the fundamental assumptions of classical physics and leading to the startling and transforming conclusion that the speed of light is a fundamental constant independent of a frame of reference. With additional related papers. First performed in Berlin by Michelson in 1881 and later refined in collaboration with Morley in 1887, the Michelson-Morley experiment, as it came to be known, was designed "to determine the speed of the earth through the ether by measuring the relative speed of electromagnetic waves traveling in different directions." To perform their experiment, they built extremely sensitive and accurate equipment, in particular, the Michelson interferometer (on the strength of which Michelson was awarded the 1907 Noble Prize in Physics), "a sensitive optical device that compares the optical path lengths for light moving in two mutually perpendicular directions. It was reasoned that, if the speed of light were constant with respect to the proposed ether through which the Earth was moving, that motion could be detected by comparing the speed of light in the direction of the Earth's motion and the speed of light at right angles to the Earth's motion. No difference was found. This null result seriously discredited the ether theories and ultimately led to the proposal by Albert Einstein in 1905 that the speed of light is a universal constant. It was perhaps the most significant negative experiment in the history of science." (Lightman, Great Ideas in Physics; Britannica). In: The American Journal of Science, third Series (1887), no.203, pp.333-345. New Haven, 1887. Note: This printing of the American scientists' famous paper in the American Journal of Science preceded by several weeks the London printing in the Philosophical Magazine. WITH: MICHELSON; MORLEY. Influence of Motion on the Medium on the Velocity of Light. A preliminary work contributing to the famous experiment by demonstrating that the motion of light through a material medium is affected by the motion of the medium. American Journal of Science, no.185, pp.377-386. New Haven, 1886. Octavo, both volumes bound in stunning blue and dark blue morocco tooled in gilt and blind, by Johanna Rojgard (2002), depicting diagrams of the experiments; housed in a folding cloth box. A hint of browning to page edges of 1886 volume, otherwise fine. Exquisitely bound. Rare. WITH: Influence of Motion on the Medium on the Velocity of Light (another copy), in original wrappers and folding case. WITH: On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Aether. Rare printing in original wrappers of the Abstract for the famous paper; in the November, 1887, issue of "The Sidereal Messenger". A MAGNIFICENT COLLECTION DOCUMENTING ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF PHYSICS.
Experiments to Determine the Density of the Earth

Experiments to Determine the Density of the Earth

CAVENDISH, HENRY THE CAVENDISH EXPERIMENT: FIRST EDITION IN EXTREMELY SCARCE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF THE REPORT OF CAVENDISH'S EXPERIMENT TO DETERMINE THE DENSITY OF THE EARTH AND NEWTON'S GRAVITATIONAL CONSTANT "G", ONE OF THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL UNIVERSAL CONSTANTS. In 1798, Cavendish, by means of a torsion balance, was able to measure the force of gravitational attraction between pairs of lead spheres, thus allowing for the calculation of the gravitational constant, G, in Newton's revolutionary law of universal gravitation. With this value, the density of the Earth, and therefore the Earth's mass, could readily be derived. The experiment was beautiful in its simplicity. "The apparatus consisted of two lead balls on either end of a suspended beam; these moveable balls were attracted by a pair of stationary lead balls. Cavendish calculated the force of attraction between the balls from the observed period of oscillation of the balance and deduced the density of the Earth from the force. Cavendish was the first to observe gravitational motions induced by comparatively minute portions of ordinary matter. The attractions that he measured were unprecedentedly small, being only 1/500,000,000 times as great as the weight of the bodies" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). "The Cavendish experiment was significant not only for measuring Earth's density (and thus its mass) but also for proving that Newton's law of gravitation worked on scales much smaller than those of the solar system. Since the late 19th century, refinements of the Cavendish experiment have been used for determining G" (Britannica). The gravitational constant - one of the very few fundamental constants of nature -is at the core of our most essential models of the universe, from Newton's law of gravitation to Einstein general theory of relativity. IN: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for the year 1798, Part II (the complete volume), pp. 469-526 (Cavendish Experiment). London: Peter Elmsly, printer to the Royal Society, 1798. Quarto, original paper wrappers with paper label, uncut. Housed in custom half-morocco box. Illustrated throughout with folding engraved plates, including two for the Cavendish experiment. Wrappers with chipping to top of spine. General title browned; some mild dampstaining in top margin of several gatherings. An exceedingly rare copy in original wrappers. Note: With small stamp on inside front wrapper and verso of general title of "Zentralbibliothek der Hohen Schule", indicating that this was one of the millions of books confiscated by the Nazi's during the war for an intended academic library. It is most likely this book fell into the hands of Soviet or American forces at the war's end. In light of this history - and through a generous gesture by the consignor - 100% of the proceeds of the sale of this item will be donated to the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, for the support of its archival work.
Andy Warhol's Index (Book)

Andy Warhol’s Index (Book)

WARHOL, ANDY FIRST EDITION, preferred hardcover issue, of Warhol's iconic Index (Book), complete with all components (except balloon as usual). "Andy Warhol's Index (Book), which is an expensive rarity today, was another portrait of the mysterious silver factory as a schizoid fun house. It consists primarily of photographs, blank pages, joke pages, and a pop-up cut-out of a medieval castle inhabited by Warhol's superstars above the logo 'We are constantly under attach.' The text is a rambling, seemingly random, classically monosyllabic interview with Warhol. Although it stands today as an essential report on the Warhol factory, the Index book operates on a different level entirely inasmuch as it does not rely primarily on language" (Bockris, Warhol: The Biography). Complete with: -pop-up castle, with small closed tear (as often) at one of the pop-up folds -a paper accordion still with strong squeak -a multi-colored pop-up airplane -a folded geodesic dome, detached from string, as often, with often-missing rubber band inside, small tear from where the original seal was broken -a paper disc with "The Chelsea Girls" in printed type -45 R.P.M. flexi-disc with portrait of Lou Reed, which plays a supposedly unrecorded song by Nico and the Velvet Underground -an illustration of a nose with two colored overlays on a double-folded page -pop-up Hunt's Tomato Paste can -a sheet of eight stamps to be placed in water -balloon (which nearly always deteriorates) missing, with just a small piece of masking tape from original mount present, pages not damaged as is often the case when the balloon deteriorates. New York: Random House, 1967. Octavo, original black cloth with holographic front board; custom silk box by noted book designer Sjoerd Hofstra. Binding extremely bright and clean. An outstanding copy of a notoriously fragile book. original black cloth with holographic front board
placeholder

Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhängig? [Does The inertia of a body depend upon its energy-content?]

EINSTEIN, ALBERT FIRST PRINTING of Albert Einstein's groundbreaking 1905 paper, the introduction and derivation of the most famous equation in modern physics: E=mc2. "A few months after first publishing the theory of relativity, Einstein discovered something that particularly intrigued him; the relation between inertial mass and energy. He wrote to Conrad Habicht during the summer of 1905: 'One more consequence of the paper on electrodynamics has also occurred to me. The principle of relativity, in conjunction with Maxwell's equations, requires that mass be a direct measure of the energy contained in a body; light carries mass with it. A noticeable decrease of mass should occur in the case of radium. The argument is amusing and seductive, but for all I know the Lord might be laughing over it and leading me around by the nose'" (Stachel, Einstein's Miraculous Year). Einstein continued to work late into the summer on this "amusing and seductive" problem before proving the mass-energy relationship that would become known throughout the world as the simple and elegant E=mc2. Received by Annalen der Physik on September 27, Einstein's derivation and proof of his most famous equation was a dramatic contribution to his annus mirabilis of 1905. Weil *10. Note: In this paper and others until 1912, Einstein used the symbol "L" for energy in his equations and wrote the formula in the form: Mass= L/c2. In: Annalen der Physik, Vierte Folge, Volume 18, part 13, pages 639-41. Leipzig: Barth, 1905. Octavo, contemporary half-morocco over marbled boards. The whole volume 18 offered, complete with volume halt-title, title, and contents. Some scuffing to spine of binding; text exceptionally fine. A rare copy in a contemporary binding with no institutional stamps. Contemporary morocco over marbled boards
R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots

R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots

APEK, KAREL SCARCE FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF ?APEK'S SCIENCE FICTION CLASSIC, THE WORK THAT INTRODUCED THE WORD "ROBOT" TO THE WORLD. "The first work to bring ?apek world renown was R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots, a 'collective drama' about artificial people, the robots of the title. This original play quickly circled the world, became the basis for film adaptations and, thanks to the play's success, the word 'robot' (invented for ?apek's by his brother) entered the world's languages. It's often considered a utopian work, but in fact ?apek merely used a utopian theme for a much more serious purpose. The fundamental message of the play is: estrangement between people and the products they create ends in catastrophe" (Ivan Klima, Karel ?apek: Life and Work). The word "robot" - used here for the first time - was derived by ?apek and his brother from the Czech word "robota", meaning "forced labor." Note: This 1920 first edition in the original Czech precedes the play's premier in Prague in early 1921. It was soon performed in New York (1922) and issued in an English translation in 1923. Although the colophon states that 2000 copies were printed, it's scarcity suggests that the print run may not have been completed. Pragus [Praha]: Aventinum, 1920. Octavo, original brown/lavender decorated wrappers; custom box. Some minor archival restoration at the extreme wrapper edges. Rubbing and creases to wrapper extremities; patches of foxing and fading to rear wrapper. A VERY RARE FIRST EDITION OF AN EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL WORK.
Observations on Different Kinds of Air [Priestley]. WITH: Experiments Upon Vegetables

Observations on Different Kinds of Air [Priestley]. WITH: Experiments Upon Vegetables, Discovering Their Great Power of Purifying the Common Air in the Sun-Shine [IngenHousz]

PRIESTLEY, JOSEPH; INGENHOUSZ, JAN FIRST EDITIONS OF TWO MILESTONES IN THE DISCOVERY OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS; OUTSTANDING COPIES. Since ancient times naturalists have noted the peculiar powers of green plants. A small seed grows in size and mass over the years and eventually becomes an enormous tree, but without any apparent intake of food. The natural, and early, assumption was that plants were, in effect, extracting nutrition from the soil in which they grow, but in a famous seventeenth-century experiment, Jan Baptist von Helmont planted a five-pound willow stem in a pot of soil. Over the course of five years the sprig grew into a 169-pound tree, while the weight of the soil in which it had been planted decreased by only two ounces. Von Helmont assumed that the missing mass came from water - the only other apparent source of raw material available to his willow. Later scientists guessed correctly that plants lost a significant part of their water intake through evaporation, and that atmospheric gases must somehow also play a role in a plant's creation of its own substance. Today, of course, we know that through a process called photosynthesis, green plants can use water and carbon dioxide as raw materials, and light as an energy source, to manufacture biomass in the form of carbohydrates, discarding oxygen into the atmosphere as a waste product. As Updike points out, this mechanism interlocks elegantly with its biochemical mirror image - respiration - the process by which all organisms, plants as well as animals, break down carbohydrate in order to generate energy in a form that can be used by the organism, consuming oxygen in the process and creating carbon dioxide as a waste product. Photosynthesis, by reversing the effects of respiration, is essential to the long-term viability of life on earth. Some two and a half centuries of research has elucidated the mechanisms of photosynthesis, and revealed a beautiful and complex chain of reactions - a "gigantic ladder, forged by light," in Updike's words - by which chlorophyll in plant cells captures energy from incident sunlight and uses it to create carbohydrate from carbon dioxide. (See, for example, Robert E. Blankenship, Molecular Mechanisms of Photosynthesis (2d ed. 2014).) The two papers offered here document two early and critical milestones in that history - Joseph Priestley's seminal discovery that green plants can somehow revive the air in a sealed container in which combustion or respiration has taken place, and once again enable it support life (by, we would now say, consuming carbon dioxide and generating oxygen); and Jan IngenHousz's more detailed study of the phenomenon, which revealed, among other things, that this action of green plants takes place only in the presence of light. Both of these great scientists were prepared for their work in photosynthesis by wide-ranging interests and studies, contact with key Enlightenment scholars, and careful attention to experimental technique. Priestley: After a period of early interest and work in philosophy, theology, language, and aesthetics, "Priestley was ordained and obtained an LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh (1764) . There he also began his scientific career, with the writing of his History of Electricity for which he enlisted the support of Benjamin Franklin [and others], whom he met in London late in 1765. At their suggestion - before the History was published but after some of his experiments were known privately to sponsors - he was nominated and elected F.R.S. [Fellow of the Royal Society] in 1766. . Early in 1767, because of growing family responsibilities and the perennial financial and sectarian problems of Warrington [an academy at which he held a teaching position], Priestley resigned . to become minister of Mill-Hill Chapel, a major Presbyterian congregation in Leeds. The History of Electricity (1767) and History of Optics (1772) were published while he was at Leeds, and there he began his most famous scientific researches, those into the nature and property of gases." (DSB.) Later in life, in response to political and religious persecution (the former due to his support of the French Revolution; the latter due to his Unitarian views), he emigrated to America, where he was befriended by Thomas Jefferson, and where he died in 1804. "Observations on Different Kinds of Air" - The discovery of gases and photosynthesis: "In 1772 Priestley published an account of five years of experiments with 'airs' (gases). The work he described was so important that it immediately established him as one of the great chemists of the day. While he was in Leeds, Priestley discovered three gaseous oxides of nitrogen, including nitrous oxide ('laughing gas') and hydrogen chloride gas. Before he began his experiment, chemists had known only three gases: hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and air" (Richard Morris, The Last Sorcerers). As important as the gases Priestley discovered- doubling the known number of gases- was the experimental technique he used. "He gained particular renown for an improved pneumatic trough in which, by collecting gases over mercury instead of in water, he was able to isolate and examine gases that were soluble in water" (Britannica). His experimental innovations led to a dramatic increase of the number of gases identified over the next several decades. (Priestley himself would go on to discover seven additional gases.) Of all the achievements reported in Priestley's great paper, "The most surprising of these . was the discovery of the 'restoration' of air by vegetation. Considering the 'consumption of air by fires of all kinds, volcanoes, animals breathing, and so forth', Priestley was convinced that there must be some provision, by God in nature, for remedying the injury which the atmosphere receives . 'In what manner the process in nature operates, to produce so remarkable an effect,' Priestley wrote [p. 166], 'I do not pretend to have discovered', but vegetation did restore bad air . He had not yet recog
An Inquiry Into the Permanent Causes of the Decline and Fall of Powerful and Wealthy Nations

An Inquiry Into the Permanent Causes of the Decline and Fall of Powerful and Wealthy Nations

PLAYFAIR, WILLIAM FIRST EDITION IN SCARCE ORIGINAL BOARDS OF PLAYFAIR'S INVESTIGATION OF THE CAUSES OF NATIONAL DECLINE - A PIONEERING WORK IN THE USE OF INFOGRAPHICS TO PRESENT ECONOMIC DATA. William Playfair (1759-1823) was a pioneer in the use of graphic techniques (such as time-series line plots, bar charts, and pie charts) to display statistical data; and in the work offered here, he used those techniques to explain and support his theories of the factors that lead to the downfall of nations and empires - theories that still resonate in current debates over national policy. On Playfair's Pioneering Work in Statistical Graphics: "The two great inventors of modern graphical designs were J.H. Lambert (1728-1777) , a Swiss-German scientist and mathematician, and William Playfair (1759-1823), a Scottish political economist. The first known time-series using economic data was published in Playfair's remarkable book, The Commercial and Political Atlas ." (Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.) "In 1786 and 1801, Playfair invented three fundamental forms of statistical graph-the time-series line graph, the bar chart, and the pie chart - and he did so without significant precursors. Hence he is the creator of all the basic styles of graph with the exception of the scatterplot, which did not appear until the end of the nineteenth century. A few examples of line graphs precede Playfair, but these are mostly representations of theoretical functions with data superimposed and are conspicuous by their isolation. His contributions to the development of statistical graphics remain his life's signal accomplishment. Although this work was received with indifference, he rightly never faltered in his conviction that he had found the best way to display empirical data. In the two centuries since, there has been no appreciable improvement on his designs." (Dictionary of National Biography). On Playfair's Life and Adventures: "Playfair is an intriguing character who led a colorful life. . [H]is various enterprises included a bank, a newspaper, gun-carriage making, and a series of dubious efforts to supplement his income by blackmail, extortion, and one outright swindle that led to his conviction at the court of the King's Bench in 1805 ." (Jonathan Sachs, "William Playfair, Statistical Graphics, and the Meaning of an Event".) "Philosopher, writer, inventor, secret agent: William Playfair was, in effect, the Forrest Gump of the Scottish Enlightenment-seemingly related to everyone by one or two links, turning up at a remarkable number of historic events, and enmeshed in an improbable number of adventures." (Bruce Berkowitz, "Retroview: An Agent of Influence", in The American Interest, September 1, 2009.) "In the mid-1790s, after war had been declared between England and revolutionary France, Playfair persuaded the London government to back his attempt to wreck the French economy by counterfeiting vast numbers of assignats, the paper currency France used to pay for its wars with England. At a time when paper was still handmade, one sheet at a time, from discarded cloth, 90 reams of paper a week were used to print counterfeit French bank notes in a remote castle in Northumberland, near the Scottish border. . Playfair's memorandum proposing the scheme has only recently been found, after nearly 225 years." (Richard Davenport-Hines, "Playfair Plotted for England", in The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2018.) Details concerning this counterfeiting plot, and other aspects of Playfair's accomplishments and his sometimes questionable adventures, can be found in a recent study - Bruce Berkowitz' "Playfair: The True Story of the British Secret Agent Who Changed How We See the World" (George Mason Univ. Press 2018). On the Inquiry and Playfair's Theories of National Decline: In the work offered here - whose title was intentionally chosen by Playfair to invoke those other two Enlightenment classics, Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations - Playfair sought to elucidate "by what means a nation may acquire wealth and power" and "by what means wealth and power, once acquired, may be preserved." "In looking over the globe, if we fix our eyes on those places where wealth was formerly accumulated, and where commerce flourished, we see them, at the present day, peculiarly desolated and degraded." (Inquiry, p. iii). "From this almost universal picture, we learn that the greatness of nations is but of short duration." (Id., p. iv.) "Though the career of prosperity must necessarily have a termination amongst every people, yet there is some reason to think that the degradation, which naturally follows, and which has always followed hitherto, may be averted; whether it may be, or may not be so, is the subject of the following Inquiry; which, if it is of importance to any nation on earth, must be peculiarly so to England; a nation that has risen, both in commerce and power, so high above the natural level assigned to it by its population and extent." (Id., pp. iv-v). Playfair's Inquiry contains "at least four big ideas that economists depend on today." (Berkowitz). The first was his theory of national decline, and, more fundamentally, the idea that such a theory was even possible - that the causes of decline were not too numerous, complex, individually small, random, and diverse to allow simple general laws to be formulated. Opposing the more pessimistic views of Edmund Burke, Playfair argued that "[n]ations are exempt from those accidental vicissitudes which derange the wisest of human plans upon a smaller scale. Number and magnitude reduce chances to certainty. The single and unforeseen cause that overwhelms a man in the midst of prosperity, never ruins a nation: unless it be ripe for ruin, a nation never falls; and when it does fall, accident has only the appearance of doing what, in reality, was already nearly accomplished
Erklarung der Perihelbewegung des Merkur aus der allgemeinen Relativitatstheorie

Erklarung der Perihelbewegung des Merkur aus der allgemeinen Relativitatstheorie

EINSTEIN, ALBERT FIRST PRINTING IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of one of Einstein's most important papers: his landmark work of November 18, 1915, containing the development and confirmation of crucial elements of his general theory of relativity. By autumn 1915, Einstein experienced a "crisis" in his work on his gravitational equations and the general theory of relativity, forcing him to abandon several key elements of his earlier work. In October 1915, "Einstein shifted his focus from the physical strategy, which emphasized his feel for the basic principles of physics, and returned to a greater reliance on a mathematical strategy, which made use of the Riemann and Ricci tensors. 'Einstein's reversal,' writes John Norton, 'parted the waters and led him from bondage into the promised land of general relativity'. The result was an exhausting, four-week frenzy during which Einstein wrestled with a succession of tensors, equations, corrections, and updates that he rushed to the Prussian Academy in a flurry of four Thursday lectures" (Isaacson). In Einstein's paper of November 18th (the third paper in the four-part weekly lecture series), he "presents two of his greatest discoveries. Each of these changed his life. The first result was that his theory 'explains. quantitatively. the secular rotation of the orbit of Mercury, discovered by Le Verrier, without the need of any special hypothesis.' This discovery was, I believe, by far the strongest emotional experience in Einstein's scientific life, perhaps in all his life. Nature had spoken to him. He had been right. 'For a few days, I was beside myself with joyous excitement'. Later, he told Fokker that his discovery had given him palpitations of the heart. What he told de Haas is even more profoundly significant: when he saw that his calculations agreed with the unexplained astronomical observations, he had the feeling that something actually snapped in him." (Pais). The second discovery in Einstein's November 18th paper was that "the bending of light is twice as large as he had found earlier." This correct value would make Einstein an international celebrity when it was found to be accurate after the measurements taken during the May 1919 eclipse. The discoveries in his November 18th paper formed an essential part of the more formal, complete presentation of the general theory that appeared in his 1916 paper in Annalen der Physik. See: Isaacson, Einstein, pp. 211-221 and Pais, Subtle is the Lord pp.250-261. IN: Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Berlin: Verlag der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1915. Vol. 47. pp. 831-839. Quarto, original wrappers (almost invisibly) rebacked and trimmed; otherwise fine. Housed in custom box. RARE.
Secondary Radiations Produced by X-Rays

Secondary Radiations Produced by X-Rays

COMPTON, ARTHUR HOLLY FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of Compton's report providing the data and experimental evidence for the dual wave-particle nature of electromagnetic radiation, later called "the Compton effect". "One surprise Compton observed while wrestling with his X-ray equipment was that the scattered X-ray changes its frequency. He had explored the effect very deeply to make sure it really resulted from the scattering and not from one of the many secondary effects. Finally he had obtained a clear picture: X-rays approach the metal at a different frequency. This change was like discovering that a violet flower's mirror image looks red. "Compton eventually wrote a report for the National Research Council in which he set forth his X-ray data and observations. Although he still had no explanation for the frequency change, he included it and many other findings in his data, establishing numbers and equations that had long eluded physicists. He also showed a new experimental way of using X-rays to calculate the number of electrons in an atom. This technique, at last, gave physicists an independent technique to confirm quantum assumptions about atomic structure. Compton had moved to the first rank among experimental physicists, but he still wondered about that frequency change. Why does a scattered X-ray change frequency but light bouncing off a mirror does not?" Toward the end of his paper, Compton entertains the idea of light quanta, but then dismisses it. He writes on page 55: "The experiments described above, showing that the wave-length of the scattered X-ray is greater than that of the incident X-ray, present, however, a serious difficulty to this conclusion. This change in wave-length was found to receive quantitative explanation on the view that the radiation was received and emitted by each scattering electron in discrete quanta. No alternative explanation has as yet suggested itself. Nevertheless, the cogency of the argument based on interference phenomena is so great that it seems to me questionable whether the quantum interpretation is the correct one." Only a few weeks later, however, Compton changed his mind. In November, he "gave his breakthrough lecture, telling his students that the theory of light quanta was indispensable for explaining his X-ray scattering experiments. In December he reported his discovery to the American Physical Society's annual meeting, and two weeks later he sent the report to The Physical Review. The journal, however, was not in the habit of receiving revolutionary papers and did not schedule its publication until May 1923" (Bolles, Einstein Defiant: Genius Versus Genius in the Quantum Revolution). IN: Bulletin of the National Research Council, Vol 4, Part 2, No. 20, October 1922. pp. 1-56 [the whole issue]. Washington, D.C.: The National Research Council of The National Academy of Sciences, 1922. Octavo, original wrappers; custom box. Small owner signature on front wrapper. Just a touch of toning to wrapper edges. An extremely rare survival in such fine condition.
The Common Law

The Common Law

HOLMES, JR., OLIVER WENDELL FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE IN ORIGINAL PUBLISHER'S SHEEP BINDING OF "THE GREATEST WORK OF AMERICAN LEGAL SCHOLARSHIP.". The Common Law "is filled with novel insights and vivid imagery. Holmes's break with the a priori reasoning of the past is announced in the famous opening sentence: 'The life of the law has not been logic, but experience.' Despite its flaws, The Common Law has been called the greatest work of American legal scholarship. The central insight is that rules of behavior are not the fundamental data of law. Rather, law must be understood as a set of choices, often for unstated reasons, between possible outcomes. "In his earlier work, Holmes had labored unsuccessfully, like his predecessors, to untangle the dense mass of rules established by courts and legislature. In his first scholarly writings he had not been able to make a persuasive case for order or logic in this tangle of rules. In 1880, however, he had hit upon a new organizing principle. In cases of private law-suits for damages-judges decided which of the two parties would bear the burden of an injury. Holmes saw that the judge often found it easier to decide between the parties than to give a clear explanation or rule. The judge's written opinion, purportedly applying a rule, was often no more than a rationalization to explain the decision arrived at on other, sometimes unconscious, grounds. Instead of searching for preexisting principles of natural right or duty, therefore, Holmes turned his attention to the decisions of judges in particular circumstances. He argued that one could generalize from past decisions to predict the future behavior of judges. These empirical generalizations from the data of judicial behavior could be stated as rules or principles of law: 'a legal duty so called is nothing but a prediction that if a man does or omits certain things he will be made to suffer in this or that way by judgment of the Court. . . . A man who cares nothing for an ethical rule . . . is likely nevertheless to care a good deal to avoid being made to pay money, and will want to keep out of jail if he can' ('The Path of the Law'). Holmes believed that, even when they contradicted a judge's self-justifying explanation, generalizations based on judges' behavior were the true principles of law and the basis on which the study of law could be made a science. Applying his new method, Holmes thought he had discovered a general organizing principle: modern judges would impose liability on a defendant when his or her conduct resulted in harm that an ordinary person would have foreseen. The injury and not the breach of a rule of conduct was the judge's central motive. Judges usually imposed liability on the blameworthy party, who in the modern world was the one who had caused foreseeable harm without adequate justification and who accordingly was felt to be responsible for the damage. "In The Common Law, Holmes traces the evolution of this principle of liability through the history of the law. Law, he argues, began as a substitute for private vengeance, as a means of controlling blood feuds. It then evolved into the instrument of a more highly civilized and complex moral system, in which punishment was imposed for moral culpability. As law continued to evolve in the nineteenth century, it was tending toward reliance on a single 'external standard' that restricted personal liberty only to the extent necessary to prevent foreseeable harms. This evolution was driven by Malthusian forces. Only decisions that had contributed to the survival of the race would be preserved. It followed that law concerned itself solely with material aims and that law would continue to evolve until it was a fully self-conscious instrument of social purpose. The principles of a liberal, utilitarian policy of individual liberty and economic efficiency that Holmes found to be the often unstated motive of judicial opinions presumably had been favored by natural selection. Holmes's book itself, he plainly believed, was an important step in the evolution of the law toward self-awareness. "Although this theory of evolution through race and class struggle in which Holmes believed is now discredited, his turn toward the motives and actions of judges and away from formalistic rules of law marked an epoch that continues. Holmes's new methodology had a profound influence. He was considered one of the founders of sociological jurisprudence in Great Britain and the United States, of the school of legal realism that succeeded it, and still more recently of studies of law employing the tools of economics and rational choice analysis" (American National Biography). Grolier 100 Influential American Books, #84. First issue, with printer's imprint ("University Press: / John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.") on back of title page. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1881. Octavo, original full publisher's sheep with leather labels. Light general wear to sheep, first three leaves starting to split at gutter, but holding. A beautiful copy, rare in the publisher's sheep.
Indsendt. Ved nogle Forsøg

Indsendt. Ved nogle Forsøg, some jeg i Vinter anstillede i mine Forelæsninger over Electricitet, Galvanismus og Magnetismus [Submitted. On some experiments, which I performed this winter, in my lecturers on electricity, galvanism, and magnetism.]

ØRSTED [OERSTED], HANS CHRISTIAN THE DISCOVERY OF ELECTROMAGNETISM: THE EXTREMELY RARE TRUE FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT IN PRINT OF ØRSTED'S DEMONSTRATION OF THE MAGNETIC EFFECTS OF AN ELECTRIC CURRENT, PRECEDING EVEN THE UNOBTAINABLE LATIN PAMPHLET THAT IS GENERALLY REGARDED AS THE FIRST PUBLICATION OF HIS DISCOVERY. In July of 1820 the Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted announced his discovery that a magnetized needle could be deflected by an electric current. The discovery created a sensation among European savants, and shortly thereafter Ampère extended Ørsted's work by showing that parallel current-carrying wires repelled or attracted one another, depending upon the direction of the currents in the two wires. A little over a decade later, Faraday showed that moving magnets could induce an electrical current in nearby conducting wires, and by 1865 Maxwell had developed a complete quantitative theory of the relationship between electricity and magnetism. Yet it was Ørsted's discovery that provided the first hint of such a relationship - a relationship that both stimulated the development of Einstein's special theory of relativity and is now understood as a necessary consequence of that theory. As Nobel Prize winner Edward M. Purcell observed, "Whether the ideas of special relativity could have evolved in the absence of a complete theory of the electromagnetic field is a question for the historian of scientist to speculate about; probably it can't be answered. We can only say that the actual history shows rather plainly a path running from Ørsted's compass needle to Einstein's postulates." (Edward M. Purcell and David J. Morin, Electricity and Magnetism, 3d edition, 2013). Ørsted's discovery was described in a Latin pamphlet dated July 21, 1820, with the title Experimenta circa effectum conflictus electrici in acun magneticam, which was privately distributed to a carefully selected set of leaders of the European scientific community. Within a month or two it had been translated into the principal languages of western Europe and as a result became known to a wider audience. The Latin pamphlet is now a famously unobtainable rarity, and is generally assumed to be the first publication of Ørsted's discovery. However, the pamphlet was actually preceded by a preliminary account of Ørsted's results, also very rare, written in Danish and published in a Danish intellectual and literary journal. That is the paper offered here. The title of the paper refers to Ørsted's lectures ("Forelæsninger") on three phenomena, "Electricitet, Galvanismus og Magnetismus" - electricity, galvanism, and magnetism. At the time, "[e]lectricity meant electrostatics; galvanism referred to the effects produced by continuous currents from batteries, a subject opened up by Galvani's chance discovery and the subsequent experiments of Volta; [and] magnetism dealt with the already ancient lore of lodestones, compass needles, and the terrestrial magnetic field. It seemed clear to some that there must be a relation between galvanic currents and electric charge, although there was little more direct evidence than the fact that both could cause shocks. On the other hand, magnetism and electricity appeared to have nothing whatever to do with one another." (Purcell, op. cit.). "[E]lectricity and magnetism were generally thought of [in the early 19th century] as completely disconnected phenomena. Their causes and effects were utterly different: electrification required a violent action and implied violent effects such as sparks and thunder, whereas magnetism seemed a very quiet force. The magnetizing effect of thunder, which had long been known, was regarded as a secondary effect of mechanical or thermal origin." (Oliver Darrigol, Electrodynamics from Ampère to Einstein, 2000). Ørsted, however thought that there might be a connection between the two phenomena. He was an adherent of a philosophical position known as Naturphilosophie, which grew out of certain Romantic and idealist strains in German philosophy, and which held that "there is an eternal and unchanging law of nature, proceeding from the Absolute, from which all laws governing natural phenomena and forces derive." (Oxford English Dictionary.). As early as 1812, Ørsted had proposed "that experiments with galvanic electricity should be made to find out 'whether electricity in its most latent state has any action on a magnet,'" a proposal that derived from his "belief in the unity of the chemical, thermal, electrical and magnetic forces of nature, a belief showing the influence of Naturphilosophie ." (R.C. Stauffer, Persistent Errors Regarding Oersted's Discovery of Electromagnetism, Isis 44(4): 307-10 ; 1953). Indeed, Ørsted himself, writing in 1830 in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, attributed his early opinion "that the magnetical effects are produced by the same powers as the electrical," to "the philosophical principle, that all phenomena are produced by the same original power." (Some scholars dispute the nature and extent of the relationship between Naturphilosophie and Ørsted's discovery. See generally Christensen, op. cit., at 5-7.) Returning to Denmark in 1804 after visits to scientists and philosophers in Germany and France, Ørsted "had hoped for a professorship in physics but was disappointed by the failure of the warden of the University of Copenhagen to nominate him. He turned, instead, to public lectures, which became so popular that he finally gained an extraordinary professorship in 1806. He then began his own scientific work in earnest." (Dictionary of Scientific Biography.) "The sequence of events leading to his important discovery still remains ambiguous but it seems that one of the advanced students at the university related that the first direct event that led to the publication of Oersted's discovery occurred during a private lecture made before a group of other advanced students in the spring of 1820. At this lecture Oersted happened to place the conducting wire over and parallel to a magn
Silver Print Photograph

Silver Print Photograph

DANCE]. GENTHE, ARNOLD; DUNCAN, ISADORA EXQUISITE ICONIC PHOTOGRAPH OF ISADORA DUNCAN BY ARNOLD GENTHE. "In the early 20th century, a new form of dance was emerging, one fostered by periods of experimentation in European cities and transferred to American stages by impassioned personalities led by Isadora Duncan. As this new, modern dance both challenged and influenced other dances from ballet to vaudeville, the lines between these forms became blurred allowing for a cacophony of creative expression. The dance world was expanding and changing in a myriad of ways, and nowhere was that more evident than in New York City, where high and low dance shared the same urban space and exchanged ideas and inspiration. Modern dance, as with other modernist movements of the time, sought new forms with which to express the spirit of modern times, and as Duncan phrased it, to express 'the free spirit, who will inhabit the body of the new woman; more glorious than any woman that has yet been. the highest intelligence in the freest body.' "As modern dance developed and evolved, dance photography also began to develop, influenced by photographer Arnold Genthe (1869-1942), who utilized his signature style to capture dancers 'in the free movement of the dance.' . Genthe avoided posed photographs, choosing to capture his subjects in an unobtrusive manner, the better to express the essence of a human being. This same principle he applied to his dance photography. Here it was not just the soul and spirit of the dancer he sought to capture, but the motion of the dance, those 'fleeting magic designs made by the human body.' Genthe's goal was to create an image that suggested both the 'proceeding as well as the following movement,' that suggested motion, 'fluent, dynamic, natural.' "In his memoir, Genthe spent several pages discussing the difficulty of photographing this ephemeral art form adequately, claiming that very few of his pictures do dance justice, even those published in the 1916 volume The Book of the Dance. However, he is considered one of the pioneers in the field of dance photography, and his images include some of the leading participants in early modern dance, including Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Anna Pavlova. "Lauded as the 'Mother of Modern Dance,' Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) challenged established forms of dance through an emphasis on expressing the human spirit through movement. She performed throughout Europe and America and became a popular symbol and subject for modernists and artists. Photographed in New York between 1915 and 1918, Genthe was originally commissioned to take only a passport photo, but Duncan was so enraptured with the photograph and his style she had him take several more photographs of her and her dancers. As Duncan wrote in her autobiography My Life, his 'pictures were never photographs of his sitters but his hypnotic imagination of them. He has taken many pictures of me which are not representations of my physical being but representations of conditions of my soul.' These photographs have since become some of the most famous made of Duncan." (Maureen Maryanski, "Fleeting Magic Designs": Arnold Genthe and the Dance, New York Historical Society). With Genthe's copyright stamps (with noted restrictions) and stamp of Duncan's manager Frederick H. Toye on verso. Size: Photograph = 5.75 x 8.5 inches. Archivally framed under UV-protecting museum glass to an overall size of 12x15 inches. New York: Arnold Genthe, 1916. Nearly fine, with only a very mild crease and edge silvering visible in raking light. A beautiful image perfectly uniting photographer and subject. .
De Rerum Natura libri sex. Ad optimorum Exemplarium fidem recensiti. [On the Nature of Things]

De Rerum Natura libri sex. Ad optimorum Exemplarium fidem recensiti. [On the Nature of Things]

LUCRETIUS. [TITI LUCRETII CARIl; TITUS LUCRETIUS CARUS] THE MAGNIFICENT FIRST TONSON EDITION OF LUCRETIUS'S CLASSIC; COMPLETE WITH SEVEN FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS (ONE A LARGE FOLD-OUT). "Lucretius' literary influence has been long-lasting and widespread, especially among poets with epic ambitions or cosmological interests, from Virgil and Milton to Whitman and Wordsworth. Not surprisingly, as one of the main proponents and principal sources of Epicurean thought, his philosophical influence has also been considerable. "It is probably an exaggeration to say that the restoration and study of Lucretius' poem was crucial to the rise of Renaissance 'new philosophy' and the birth of modern science. On the other hand, one must not ignore its importance as a spur to innovative sixteenth- and seventeenth-century scientific thought and cosmological speculation. Greek atomism and Lucretius' account of the universe as an infinite, lawfully integrated whole provided an important background stimulus not only for Newtonian science, but also (if only in a negative or contrary way) for Spinoza's pantheism and Leibniz's monadology. "[F]ar from being a mere conduit for earlier Greek thought, the poet Titus Lucretius Carus was a bold innovator and original thinker who fully deserves the appellation of philosopher. While his literary fame clearly (and properly) comes first, and although his philosophical reputation is based largely (and again properly) on his role as one of the principle sources and prime exponents of Epicureanism, his own ideas, especially his evolutionary theories and his entirely naturalistic explanation of all universal phenomena, have exerted a long and important influence on western science and philosophy and should not be underestimated." (David Simpson, DePaul University, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). On this edition: Jacob Tonson (and his family) was one of London's most successful bookseller-publishers in the late 17th to early 18th centuries. In addition to gaining fame as a publisher of the works of John Dryden and John Milton, Tonson was known for producing luxurious editions - characterized by exquisite typefaces and superb illustrations - of the Greek and Roman classics. Of special note in Tonson's Lucretius - and a sign of the changing times -is the inclusion of the first-ever illustration of Book 5, focusing on a scene of Epicurean pleasure outlined at the end of the book. (Norbrook et al., Lucretius and the Early Modern). Provenance: With the handsome engraved bookplate of the "Earl of Roden, K.St.P" and shelving notes on the front pastedown. London: Jacob Tonson, 1712. Quarto (226x284 mm), contemporary full calf, gilt-decorated spine with red leather label, gilt-ruled boards. Complete with engraved frontispiece and six full-page engraved plates (one a fold-out) and engraved initials and head- and tail-pieces. Joints split but holding secure, some rubbing to spine and scuffing to boards. Text with occasional mild uniform toning, but generally very clean with wide margins. A HANDSOME COPY OF TONSON'S CELBRATED EDITION OF LUCRETIUS'S MONUMENTAL WORK.
Sur les corpuscules organisés qui existent dans l'atmosphère: Examen de la doctrine des générations spontanées (1861)

Sur les corpuscules organisés qui existent dans l’atmosphère: Examen de la doctrine des générations spontanées (1861)

PASTEUR, LOUIS PRESENTATION COPY AND ASSOCIATION COPY OF THE RARE AUTHOR'S OFFPRINT OF PASTEUR'S FAMOUS LECTURE DISCREDITING THE THEORY OF SPONTANEOUS GENERATION, WITH HIS AUTOGRAPH NOTES TO FELLOW-SCIENTIST JOHN TYNDALL. Spontaneous generation - the theory that living organisms are routinely created from inanimate matter - goes back to ancient times. Although the theory had been cast into doubt by the observations and experimental work of Redi, Spallanzani, and others in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it proved remarkably hard to kill, and still had many distinguished adherents in the early nineteenth century. In part its persistence was due to the rise of microscopy, which had revealed a host of previously unknown organisms, with no apparent origin, in soil, pond water, and other natural environments. Where had these organisms come from, if they had not been spontaneously generated? In part it was due to bona fide disputes over experimental techniques, with opponents of the theory arguing that demonstrations of the spontaneous generation of microorganisms in supposedly sterile nutrient media were merely the result of contamination or inadequate sterilization; and proponents of the theory arguing that the failure of microorganisms to grow in sterilized nutrient media in sealed flasks was the result either of damage to some vital ingredient in the medium resulting from the heat-sterilization process, or of the fact that the medium did not have access to oxygen or to some other factor in the air that was necessary to support spontaneous generation. See generally John Farley, The Spontaneous Generation Controversy from Descartes to Oparin (Johns Hopkins 1977). That is where matters rested when "[Felix] Pouchet launched his attempt to establish the doctrine of spontaneous generation on the basis of irrefutable experiments. Pouchet, a respected naturalist from Rouen and a corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences, published in 1859 his long and controversial [Héterogenie ou traité de la génération spontanée], which created a sensation in France and probably stimulated the Académie des Sciences to institute the Alhumbert Prize in 1860 for the best 'attempt, by well conducted experiments, to through new light on the question of so-called spontaneous generations.'" Dictionary of Scientific Biography ("DSB"). Pasteur won the prize with the experimental work described in his lecture, which "provided the final experimental coup de grâce" to spontaneous generation, at least in France, although "the debate . dragged on for another twenty years in Britain and Germany ." (Farley, op. cit.). Pasteur had been led to his interest in spontaneous generation by his prior work on fermentation. Having determined that fermentation was caused by the action of living organisms, he moved on to wondering where those organisms came from - whether they were spontaneously generated or were the descendants of parent-organisms already present in, or introduced from the air into, the substance being fermented. Beginning in 1859, he conducted a series of experiments designed to eliminate the methodological quibbles that had arisen over earlier results, and to resolve the spontaneous generation question once and for all. Among these were the famous experiments demonstrating that no microorganisms would grow in sterilized nutrient media held in open, swan-necked flasks. (The flasks were open to ensure that the medium had access to air; the narrow, curved swan necks trapped dust particles in the air that might introduce new microorganisms into the medium.) In an ingenious coda to the experiment that demonstrated that the medium had not been damaged by sterilization, he found that "if one of the curved necks were detached from a hitherto sterile flask and placed upright in it, vegetative growths appeared in a day or two." ( DSB). Pasteur's results were discussed in a lecture he delivered in 1861 to the Société chimique de Paris. The lecture was originally published in the 1861 volume of the Société's annual publication "Leçons de chimie et de physique," together with a number of other lectures delivered that year. The item offered here is an author's offprint from the Leçons volume, containing only the Pasteur lecture, with the same page count and layout of lines on each page as in the Leçons volume, but with the pages renumbered from 1-36. (The lecture proper was 34 pages long and printed on pages 3-36 of the offprint; page numbers 1 and 2 were assigned to the title page and its verso.) The experiments were also described in a series of lectures delivered before the Académie des Sciences, and an expanded description was incorporated into Pasteur's famous paper "Mémoire sur les Corpuscules Organisés qui existent dans l'Atmosphère" (PMM 336(c)), which was published in Annales des sciences naturelles, and subsequently in Annales de chimie et de physique. An important presentation and association copy: This copy of the offprint includes lengthy autograph notes added by Pasteur in September 1871 that were addressed to John Tyndall, an eminent Victorian-era scientist who went on to perform important research of his own on the spontaneous generation question. (On Tyndall's life and achievements, see generally Roland Jackson, "The Ascent of John Tyndall: Victorian Scientist, Mountaineer, & Public Intellectual" (Oxford 2018).) Pasteur's autograph notations on the offprint include a lengthy note in French on the front wrapper (signed "L. Pasteur"), one on page 35 (initialed "L.P."), and a marginal correction on page 3 (i.e., the first page of the lecture proper). --On page 3 of the offprint as originally printed, Pasteur noted that he did not claim to be able to establish that spontaneous generation never occurs, since he cannot prove a negative. Instead, he claimed to be able to show rigorously that in all cases where spontaneous generation was thought to have been shown, the observer had been the victim or illusions or errors t
Recherches sur Buddou ou Bouddou instituteur religieux de l'Asie orientale [Studies on Buddsou or Bouddou

Recherches sur Buddou ou Bouddou instituteur religieux de l’Asie orientale [Studies on Buddsou or Bouddou, Religious Teacher of Eastern Asia]

BUDDHISM]. OZERAY, MICHEL-JEAN-FRANÇOIS EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST WESTERN BOOK ON BUDDHISM. "Although the Western encounter with Asia's largest religion may be the vastest and most consequential spiritual encounter in human history, its protagonists and historical development are still barely known. Thus it comes as no surprise that even specialists have hitherto failed to appreciate the earliest Western book about Buddhism: Michel-Jean-François Ozeray's Recherches sur Buddou ou Bouddou, instituteur religieux de l'Asie orientale (Paris, 1817). ". Ozeray's book represents a landmark in the history of the Western discovery of Buddhism. Published three years after the establishment of Europe's first academic chairs for indology and sinology and just before the organized academic study of Buddhist texts began, Ozeray's reliance on images and reports by embassies and European residents in Asian countries rather than missionary literature marks a watershed, as does the author's firm advocacy of a single historical founder, his unwillingness to engage in etymological and mythological flights of fancy, and his insistence on Buddhism's status as the largest of all religions of the Orient or even of the entire world. Though the book did not reach a large pan-European readership, it was read by intellectuals interested in Buddhism such as the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, Europe's first professor of Sinology Abel-Rémusat, and the linguist Julius Klaproth. Klaproth and Abel-Rémusat were around the time of publication expressing increasing interest in Buddhism and its history. Both were involved in the birth of France's earliest Orientalist journal, the Journal Asiatique, which from the early 1820s became one of Europe's most important sources of information about Buddhism. Ozeray's book thus stands near the end of the mythological speculation period and near the beginning of organized research on Asia's greatest religion" (Urs App, The First Western Book on Buddhism and Buddha). Paris: Chez Brunot-Labbe, 1817. Octavo, contemporary half-morocco, marbled boards and endpapers. Complete with half-title. Some scuffing to binding, small closed tear to half-title. Text in outstanding condition with large margins. SCARCE: WE CAN'T FIND RECORDS FOR ANY OTHER COPY THAT HAS BEEN ON THE MARKET. contemporary morocco over marbled boards
Imago primi saecvli Societatis Iesu a Provincia Flandro-Belgica eiusdem Societatis repraesentata. [Image of the First Century of the Society of Jesus]

Imago primi saecvli Societatis Iesu a Provincia Flandro-Belgica eiusdem Societatis repraesentata. [Image of the First Century of the Society of Jesus]

BOLLANDUS, J. TOLLENAERE, J. FIRST EDITION of one of the most important and celebrated texts of the Jesuits; a seminal text in spreading the influence of the Jesuits during the Counter-Reformation. Complete with engraved title and 126 engraved emblems including two world maps and the famous "Leone Belgico". In beautiful contemporary binding. "In 1640 the Jesuit order celebrated its 100th anniversary, for which a large number of festivities had been planned. One of the most prestigious events was undoubtedly the publication by the Antwerp Officina Plantiniana of the Imago Primi Saeculi Societatis Jesu. This impressive folio volume would become an icon of the Jesuit order at that time. Though the initiative was highly contested, the Jesuit order itself considered the volume to be a great success, and regarded it as a highly persuasive form of self-representation. A huge tome numbering more than a thousand pages, The Imago presents a chronological-thematic account of the history of the order, and contains a large number of rhetorical exercises, poems and emblems. These emblems were integral to the festivities of the Society's centennial, while simultaneously functioning as emblematic exhibitions ("affixiones") in the Antwerp Jesuit Church" (Marc van Vaeck, "Emblematic Versatility as a Strategy of Self-Representation"). On the importance of emblems to the Jesuits: "The Jesuits were the principal disseminators of the symbolic language that was developed in emblems and allegories beginning in the sixteenth century. In their influential educational system, the emblematic imagination was fundamental. The practical orientation of their pedagogy and their desire for intervention carried this creativity out to the plazas and streets, with a persuasive intent in the majority of instances. Their presence could be seen in both public and private spaces, but, in a deeper and more subtle manner, it could be appreciated in the mental habits of so many artists and writers who studied under the Jesuits. A disseminating nucleus of ideas and images was thus constituted, one that played with the mystery inherent in the symbolic image, in order to awaken attention and to achieve the maximum power of conviction within the sphere of the Counter-Reformation" (Rev. G. Richard Dimler, S. J., "Emblems and Symbols of the Society of Jesus"). Provenance: With stamps from the Institute of St. Ignatius, Antwerp (now the University of Antwerp) on half-title and title. (The book was published in Antwerp.) Also with stamp from H. Godts (2006) on front pastedown. Antwerp: Ex Officina Plantiniana, Balthasaris Moreti,1640. Folio, contemporary blind-stamped calf rebacked with portions of original spine laid-down; metal clasps. With rare half-title (repaired at top corner). Some early marginal writing and an "x" through one of the cherubs on title. Early owner inscription and small stamp on title; minor dampstaining near the gutter of some early leaves (not affecting text). A excellent copy in very handsome contemporary binding.
Remarques generales sur les Températures du globe terrestre et des espaces planétaires [Fourier]. WITH: Ueber den Einfluss des atmosphärischen Kohlensäuregehalts auf die Temperatur der Erdoberfläche [Arrhenius]

Remarques generales sur les Températures du globe terrestre et des espaces planétaires [Fourier]. WITH: Ueber den Einfluss des atmosphärischen Kohlensäuregehalts auf die Temperatur der Erdoberfläche [Arrhenius]

FOURIER, JOSEPH; ARRHENIUS, SVANTE AUGUST RARE FIRST EDITIONS IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF TWO PIONEERING NINETEENTH-CENTURY PAPERS LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE MODERN SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF GLOBAL WARMING - THE 1824 INTRODUCTION OF THE IDEA OF THE "GREENHOUSE EFFECT" AND THE FIRST QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE PHENOMENON. Concerns over the impact of human activities on the earth's climate are based on the fact that "greenhouse gases" produced by industrial activity, including particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), can absorb, and convert into heat, infrared radiation emitted from the earth's surface. As a result, increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases can lead, through a variety of direct and indirect mechanisms, to increases in average global temperatures. Although "the idea of human agency in climatic change goes back at least to Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle, who wrote of local changes of climate caused by . agricultural activities" (James Rodger Fleming, "Historical Perspectives on Climate Change" ), the modern understanding of the link between climate and the composition of the atmosphere has its roots in the nineteenth century. The two papers offered here were key milestones in the development of that understanding. Joseph Fourier: Fourier was a mathematical physicist best known for his work on the representation of periodic functions using "Fourier series" and for the development of a mathematical model of heat flow. He seems to have had a gift for always winding up on the wrong side of the political transformations that racked France in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - a sort of reverse Vicar of Bray. Like Lavoisier, he ran afoul of the Reign of Terror. "During the Revolution, Fourier was prominent in local affairs, and his courageous defense of the victims of the Terror led to his arrest in 1794," but he survived long enough to be released after Robespierre's execution. After the Thermidorean reaction to the Terror had set in, he was again arrested, this time, ironically, "as a supporter of Robespierre," but again he survived. Under Napoleon he was appointed prefect of the departments of Isère and Rhône, and was later granted a barony, but "before the end of Napoleon's Hundred Days, [he] had resigned his new title and prefecture in protest against the severity of the regime ." Despite this, he was later blocked from becoming a member of the Académie des Sciences "because Louis XVIII could not forgive his having accepted the prefecture of the Rhône from Napoleon ." (Dictionary of National Biography). "It was in the 1820s that [Fourier] first realized that the Earth's atmosphere retains heat radiation. . [W]ith a leap of physical intuition, he realized that the planet would be significantly colder if it lacked at atmosphere." (Spencer Weart, "The Discovery of Global Warming".) In the 1824 paper offered here, "Fourier pointed out that the thickness of the atmosphere and the nature of the surface 'determine' the mean value of the temperature each planet acquires. He also observed that, in very general terms, 'the motion of the air and waters, the extent of the seas, the elevation and form of the surface, the effects of human industry and all the accidental changes of the earth's surface, modify the temperatures of each climate.' He admitted, however, that it is 'difficult to know how far the atmosphere influences the mean temperature of the globe; and in this examination we are no longer guided by a regular mathematical theory.'" (Fleming, op cit.). Fourier argued that the temperature of the Earth could be "augmented by the interposition of the atmosphere, because heat in the state of light [chaleur lumineuse - in effect, infrared radiation] finds less resistance in penetrating the air, than . when converted to non-luminous heat [chaleur obscure]." Although many later popularizers of Fourier's work claimed that he had compared the atmosphere to the glass walls of a greenhouse, the paper in fact did not use that analogy.
PROTEIN STRUCTURE]. The Structure of Proteins: Two Hydrogen-Bonded Helical Configurations of the Polypeptide Chain. WITH: The Pleated Sheet

PROTEIN STRUCTURE]. The Structure of Proteins: Two Hydrogen-Bonded Helical Configurations of the Polypeptide Chain. WITH: The Pleated Sheet, a New Layer Configuration of Polypeptide Chains. WITH: A Three-Dimensional Model of the Myoglobin Molecule Obtained by X-Ray Analysis. WITH: Structure of Myoglobin: A Three-Dimensional Fourier Synthesis at 2 Å Resolution. WITH: Structure of Haemoglobin. A Three-Dimensional Fourier Synthesis at 5.5-Å Resolution, Obtained by X-Ray Analysis. et al.

PAULING, LINUS; KENDREW, JOHN; PERUTZ, MAX; et al. FIRST EDITIONS, OFFPRINT ISSUES (INCLUDING ONE SIGNED COPY AND ONE SIGNED PRESENTATION COPY), OF MILESTONE PAPERS ON THE DETERMINATION OF THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF PROTEINS, WORK FOR WHICH PAULING, KENDREW, AND PERUTZ ALL WON NOBEL PRIZES. Proteins - the "building blocks of life" - are themselves made up of building blocks known as amino acids. There are about twenty types of amino acid molecules commonly found in biological organisms, and each is chemically equipped to connect to two other amino acids through a linkage known as a peptide bond, enabling any number of amino acids to form a chain that constitutes the backbone of a protein molecule. (The specific linear sequence of amino acids that make up a particular protein's backbone is referred to as the protein's "primary structure.") Each of the 20-odd amino acids also has its own characteristic "side-chain." The interaction of these side chains with each other and with their natural environment in the cell determines how the protein will fold up after it is synthesized into a specific three-dimensional configuration that enables the protein to carry out its architectural, catalytic, or other functions. Some portions of the protein chain fold into simple, regular structural motifs such as helices and sheets. These are referred to as "secondary structure" of the protein, while the overall three-dimensional configuration of the entire protein molecule is known as its "tertiary structure." Because of the vital biological importance of proteins - and because the close relationship of between the biological function of a protein and its three-dimensional form - determining the details of protein structure has been one of the priorities of molecular biologists from the 1950s onward. The primary tool for unraveling the three-dimensional structure of proteins is X-ray crystallography, in which the complex diffraction patterns formed X-rays interacting with the lattice of molecules in a protein crystal can be decoded - through laborious mathematical calculations - in order to establish details of a protein's structure. As crystallographic techniques advanced and as faster and better computers became available, scientists were able to use this tool to determine the structure of proteins down to the atomic level. (The level of detail - or "resolution" - available from X-ray diffraction data is generally expressed in Ångstrom units [abbreviated Å]. One Å is one ten-millionth of a millimeter, or about the size of a hydrogen atom.) The papers that are offered here document key milestones in our understanding of protein structure. (a) A single inscribed offprint ("To Bob Schindler - Linus Pauling") containing eight papers by Linus Pauling and his collaborators, announcing the discovery of the "?-helix," the "?-sheet," and other important aspects of the secondary structure of proteins, as published in the April and May 1951 issues of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, including "The Structure of Proteins: Two Hydrogen-Bonded Helical Configurations of the Polypeptide Chain" and "The Pleated Sheet, a New Layer Configuration of Polypeptide Chains" (1st ed. 1951; offprint issue in original wrappers; boldly inscribed by Pauling to Robert Schindler). The offprint also includes a short related paper by Pauling and R. Corey, "Two Hydrogen-Bonded Spiral Configurations of the Polypeptide Chain", originally published in in 1950 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. "In April of 1951, readers who turned the pages of PNAS were treated to a surprise .: seven studies from the same authors, published back-to-back, all on the subject of protein structure. . Grouping the papers together for maximum attention, authors Linus Pauling and Robert Corey must have realized the bombshell they had dropped on the scientific world. Knowledge of the inner workings of proteins - molecules often referred to as the building blocks of life - would be the key to understanding biology at the mol
Autograph Letter Signed

Autograph Letter Signed

LEWIS, C.S. [CLIVE STAPLES] ONE OF THE FINEST C.S. LEWIS LETTERS TO APPEAR ON THE MARKET, OFFERING INSIGHT INTO THE CREATION OF THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. WITH MENTION OF TOLKIEN'S "THE HOBBIT" AS A FAVORITE BOOK. Between the publication of the second (Prince Caspian) and third (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) books in his masterpiece series, "The Chronicles of Narnia," Lewis writes to a group of school children, revealing his thoughts about the series and his plans for the remaining books. Over the course of the letter, Lewis: -regrets that Peter and Susan are not returning to Narnia ("they are now getting to the age at which people stop having that sort of adventure for a time"); -offers a preview of the new book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ("Lucy and Edmund find Caspian (now King of course) on board ship, sailing to the Eastern end of the Narnian world. There will be lots about Reepicheep. And there will be a Sea Serpent, and a Dragon, and lots of strange islands."); -announces that there will be seven books in the series and that they will be called "The Chronicles of Narnia"; -discusses the sixth book (revealing that the Professor must have known all along about the existence of the magic wardrobe); -tantalizingly reveals that the series is very much a work in progress, and that he does not yet know how it will end ("I don't know yet what will happen in the seventh. What do you think would be a good thing to end the whole series with? Of course Aslan will come into them all."); -lists some books he particularly likes, including Tolkien's The Hobbit and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. The letter reads in full: Magdalen College Oxford May 22. 1952 My dear grittletonians - Thanks for your nice and interesting letters. Like you, I am sorry that Peter and Susan are not going back to Narnia, but I think, being the two eldest, they are now getting to the age at which people stop having that sort of adventure for a time - they may start having it again later, but not for some years. The new book is called The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy and Edmund find Caspian (now King of course) on board ship, sailing to the Eastern end of the Narnian world. There will be lots about Reepicheep. And there will be a Sea Serpent, and a Dragon, and lots of strange islands. I do hope you will all like it. I intend to have seven of these stories altogether - that is, four more after the next one. They will be called The Chronicles [page break] of Narnia. The sixth ['fifth' deleted and corrected] book will go right back to the beginning and explain how there came to be that magic wardrobe in the Professor's house - for of course you will have guessed that the old Professor must have known something about things like that himself, or else he would never have believed what the children told him. I don't know yet what will happen in the seventh. What do you think would be a good thing to end the whole series with? Of course Aslan will come into them all. I wonder what other books you all like. I like George MacDonald's two Curdy books and Tolkien's The Hobbit, and [Kenneth Grahame's] The Wind in the Willows. Do you write stories yourselves? I did at your age: it is the greatest fun. Love and good wishes to all. Yours ever, [signed] C.S. Lewis P.S. E. Nesbitt's works are splendid, I think: especially The Phoenix and the Wishing Carpet and The Amulet. ----------- The recipients of the letter, the "Grittletonians", were schoolchildren attending Grittleton House School in Wiltshire who had (apparently) written a fan letter to Lewis. Note: This letter has only recently surfaced and is not in Lewis's Collected Letters. Oxford: May 22, 1952. Two pages (one sheet), 5.5x8.5 inches; custom presentation folder. Top edge a little rough (where the sheet was originally cut), expected folds. A REMARKABLE LETTER: LEWIS LETTERS DISCUSSING ASPECTS OF HIS NARNIA SERIES ARE EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE.
An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion

An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion

LANGE, DOROTHEA; TAYLOR, PAUL FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AMERICAN PHOTOBOOKS. "A collection of great single photographs does not necessarily make a great photographic book. The latter is, at its core, a work that is conscious not only of the art of photography, but the art of the book. Every aspect of the publication -- design, text, and photographic content -- must form a coherent (or purposefully disjunctive) narrative; and it must break with or at least transcend tradition as it engages the contemporary world. "One example that fits the above criteria is Dorothea Lange and Paul Schuster Taylor's An American Exodus (1939). The book combined Dorothea Lange's finest images of the farm families dispossessed by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression with a text put together by Paul Schuster Taylor of well-chosen, even poetic, words from the subjects. [As] we encounter one powerful image after another -- of barren fields, of desperate mothers, of cars laden with scant possessions, of desert roads leading West to a greener land -- counterpoised against equally powerful lines of text that parallel or intensify these images, the book leads us, chapter by chapter, on a passage through time and place and the human condition in America of the 1930s. To read An American Exodus is to experience much more than a container of superb photographs" (May Castleberry, "The Presence of the Past", in The Book of 101 Books). The Photobook. Roth 101. Complete with 112 black-and-white photographic reproductions of Lange's iconic images. Note: First issue dust jacket, with Mein Kampf listed on rear panel. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939. Text by Paul Schuster Taylor. Quarto, original blue cloth, original dust jacket; custom box. Owner signature dated 1940 on half-title. Book near-fine with just a little wear at cloth edges; dust jacket with mild edgewear, a few pieces of clear tape on verso (stabilizing closed tears), a little fading to spine. A very good copy of a book that is famously difficult to find with a good dust jacket. Original cloth, original dust jacket
The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep

CHANDLER, RAYMOND RARE ADVANCE READING COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF CHANDLER'S FIRST NOVEL AND INTRODUCING THE LEGENDARY DETECTIVE PHILIP MARLOWE. "'I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be.' This sentence, from the first paragraph of The Big Sleep, marks the last time you can be fully confident that you know what's going on. The first novel by Raymond Chandler, who at the time was a 51-year-old former oil company executive, is a mosaic of shadows, a dark tracery of forking paths. Along them wanders Philip Marlowe, a cynical, perfectly hard-boiled private investigator hired by an old millionaire to find the husband of his beautiful, bitchy wildcat daughter. Marlowe is tough and determined, and he does his best to be a good guy, but there are no true heroes in Chandler's sun-baked, godforsaken Los Angeles, and every plot turn reveals how truly twisted the human heart is" (Lev Grossman, "All-TIME 100 Novels"). The Big Sleep "was the first of seven novels to feature the famed detective Philip Marlowe. [It] represents some major departures in the nature of the detective genre, changes that necessarily reflect the world in which it was written. Corrupt networks map out Chandler's post-Prohibition era, be they explicitly criminal or nominally official, and it is the gray areas in between that allow the detective Philip Marlowe to exist. The gray, claustrophobic urban space is a major constituent of the novel; set in Southern California, the location could really be any major city given that exteriors are almost entirely absent. Rooms, cars, and even phone booths represent a series of divided compartments in which the story develops, a series of points with no connections. "This is Chandler's first Marlowe story, but there is no introduction to the character; rather, we leap straight into the investigation as it gets underway. This is essential to the nature of the world and the character, a new kind of 'hero' who seems only to become active when there is a crime to solve. We know nothing of his background and only ever see him return to his office, and this only when a trail is exhausted. Like Sergio Leone's Man With No Name, Marlowe combines a kind of shabby fallibility-a hard drinker who seems to be constantly beaten up by men and women alike-with an almost supernatural authority whereby he seems to serenely coast over the jumbled twists and turns of the case, observing and randomly following leads and providence, until a solution is finally reached. That this is in such contrast to the Sherlock Holmes school of detective work-where central to the plot is the immense intellectuality of the detective that allows him to simply consider at length the facts in order to succeed-is perhaps the most significant factor in the novel's literary importance" (Seb Franklin, Britannica). The basis for classic 1946 Howard Hawks movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (with William Faulkner collaborating on the screen play). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939. Octavo, original printed wrappers; custom box. Fading and wear to spine, splits to wrapper joints (but holding); mild general wear. A fragile item: unrestored and in significantly better condition than most copies we could trace. RARE.