Aristotles master-piece, London, 1684, contemporary calf
8,000 to - 12,000 GBP
Aristotles master-piece: or, the secrets of generation displayed in all the parts thereof... London: for J. How, 1684
12mo (144 x 83mm.), woodcut frontispiece of a hairy woman and a black baby, with blank leaf H12 (torn), woodcut illustrations, contemporary calf over thin wooden boards, small hole at foot of A5, A8 defective at upper corner with loss of text, I3 torn at head with slight loss, some fraying throughout (sometimes affecting text and images), occasional staining, occasional shaving of text in margins, binding slightly worn
A popular (and somewhat notorious) handbook of conception, pregnancy and childbirth, first printed in 1684 and regularly reprinted; there are at least three issues recorded with a 1684 How imprint and this copy does not exactly match any of those. The text has no connection with Aristotle, but is mostly drawn from Levinus Lemnius, Sweet miracles of nature (1658) and the anonymous Complete midwives practice enlarged (1656).
The woodcut illustrations depict "monstrous" births and were probably more designed as a marketing tool than to complement the text. The image in the frontispiece (reproduced as one of the illustrations at the end), of a hairy woman and a black baby, supposedly created through the mother's imagination while pregnant, is somewhat at odds with the stated intent of the book to provide practical information about childbirth. The image is based on a woodcut from an English edition of Ambroise Paré's work Des monstres et prodiges, and one of the other woodcuts of monstrous births contains Paré's ("Parrey") description of a child with deformed and stunted limbs. The other woodcuts show a baby with the features of a calf born in Germany, a half-man half-dog described by Raffaele Maffei, a winged monster born in Ravenna, and a child in Germany with four arms and four legs.
"Thus Reader I have finished the difficult Mystery of Generation, as I hope to the satisfaction of all Modest and Ingenious Persons." (p.190).
a reset version of Wing A3697fA (which has the title "Aristoteles", not "Aristotles" as here); Mary E. Fissell, "Hairy women and naked truths: gender and the politics of knowledge in Aristotle's Masterpiece", William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, volume LX (2003), 43-74
Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate
Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.