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    Second Edition of Newton's Principia

    [Sir] Isaac Newton. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Editio Secunda Auctior et Emendatior. Cambridge: [Printed by Cornelius Crownfield], 1713.

    Second (first Cambridge) edition of the Principia, published twenty-six years after the first edition of 1687. One of 750 copies printed. Edited with a preface by Robert Cotes. Quarto (9.5 x 7.25 inches). [28], 484, [8] pages. Engraved device of Cambridge University on the title-page, folding engraved plate depicting a cometary orbit facing page 465, numerous woodcut diagrams and illustrations in the text.

    Contemporary calf, neatly rebacked. Spine ruled in blind and lettered in gilt with five raised bands. Covers decoratively paneled in blind. Wear to corners and board edges. Preliminary and terminal pages toned but contents bright and in fine condition. Heavily annotated (in Latin) in an early hand from page 482 to the end. A superb copy.

    "The Principia is generally described as the greatest work in the history of science. Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had certainly shown the way; but where they described the phenomena they observed, Newton explained the underlying universal laws. The Principia provided the great synthesis of the cosmos, proving finally its physical unity. Newton showed that the important and dramatic aspects of nature that were subject to the universal law of gravitation could be explained, in mathematical terms, within a single physical theory. With him the separation of natural and supernatural, of sublunar and superlunar worlds disappeared. The same laws of gravitation and motion rule everywhere; for the first time a single mathematical law could explain the motion of objects on earth as well as the phenomena of the heavens. The whole cosmos is composed of inter-connecting parts influencing each other according to these laws. It was this grand conception that produced a general revolution in human thought, equalled perhaps only by that following Darwin's Origin of Species" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

    "Richard Bentley, Master of Trinity College, was instrumental in bringing out this second edition, which was edited by Roger Cotes...In his important preface, Cotes attacks the Cartesian philosophy, then still in vogue in the universities, and refutes an assertion that Newton's theory of attraction is a causa occulta. It contains a second preface by Newton and considerable additions, the chapters on the lunar theory and the theory of comets being much enlarged" (Babson).

    Babson 12. ESTC T93210. Wallis II, 8. See also Dibner 11, Grolier/Horblit 78, Norman Library 1586, Printing and the Mind of Man 161 (all describing the first edition).


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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