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Lot 14: GALILEO, GALILEI. 1564-1642. SALUSBURY, THOMAS. The Systeme of the World in Four Dialogues. [In:] Mathematical Collections and Translations.

Est: $30,000 USD - $50,000 USDSold:
BonhamsMarch 06, 2020New York, NY, US

Item Overview


GALILEO, GALILEI. 1564-1642.
SALUSBURY, THOMAS. The Systeme of the World in Four Dialogues. [In:] Mathematical Collections and Translations. London: William Leyboun, 1661.
2 parts in one. 4to (337 x 256 mm). Half-title, 4 folding engraved diagrams, without contents leaf (*3) and errata (possibly as issued, see below). Full ruled calf, antique, morocco lettering piece, browning to margins of leaves, some occasional worming.
Provenance: G. Tash (ink inscription); Radcliffe Library, Oxford (stamp to title, with deaccession stamp).

FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF GALILEO'S DIALOGO, HIS MASTERFUL DEFENSE OF THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM, A LANDMARK OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT: 'The Dialogo, far more than any other work, made the heliocentric system a commonplace' (PMM).

Silenced in 1615 by the inquisition for his heretical views, Galileo published his Dialogo in 1632, using a scholarly discussion among three friends as a framework to 'hypothetically' explore the heliocentric model of Copernicus. The Dialogo 'displays all the great discoveries in the heavens the ancients had ignored; it inveighs against the sterility, willfulness, and ignorance of those who defend their system; it revels in the simplicity of Copernican thought and, above all, it teaches that the movement of the earth makes sense in philosophy, that is, in physics... the thread that led straight to Newton' (PMM). And Salusbury's 1661 English translation would be the book through which Newton first encounters Galileo at Trinity (see Westfall, p 173 note).

Salusbury's important compilation of scientific thought further includes the first English appearance of Galileo's important 'Letter to Christina' ( Epistle to the Grand Dutchesse Mother concerning the Authority of Holy Scripture in Philosophical Controversies), as well as the first English appearance of Kepler's An Abstract of the Learned Treatise... the Introduction upon Mars (his preface to the 1609 Astronomia nova.)

The second volume of Mathematical Collections appeared in 1665. Almost all copies of the second volume were destroyed by the Great Fire of London; Stillman Drake located only 8 copies of the second volume in 1999, all lacking the second part, before the discovery of the remarkable Macclesfield copy. This copy is bound without the contents leaf and the errata leaf (appearing in some copies as *3 and 3Z2 respectively). Given that the contents leaf lists the contents of the second volume to the verso, it seems likely that the leaf would not have been printed until 1665, and possible that the errata leaf found in some copies may likewise have been printed at the later date.
REFERENCES: Westfall, 'The Foundations of Newton's Philosophy of Nature,' British Journal for the History of Science, 1(2), 1976, pp 171-182. ESTC R-19153; PMM 128, for the 1632 Italian edition; Wing S-517.
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Auction Details

Fine Books and Manuscripts

March 06, 2020, 10:00 AM EST

580 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10022, US


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