Description

    Gaspar Schott. Magia universalis naturæ et artis, Sive, Recondita naturalium & artificialium rerum scientia, ...Pars I, continet Optica, II. Acoustica, III. Mathematica., IV. Physica...Würzburg: 1657-1658.

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    Gaspar Schott. Magia universalis naturæ et artis, Sive, Recondita naturalium & artificialium rerum scientia, cujus ope per variam applicationem activorum cum passivis, admirandorum effectuum spectacula, abditarumque inventionum miracula, ad varios humanae vitae usus, eruuntur. Opus quadripartitum. Pars I, continet Optica, II. Acoustica, III. Mathematica., IV. Physica...Würzburg: Heinrich Pigrin [Part I, and] Jobus Hertz [Parts II-III] for the Heirs of Johann Gottfried Schönwetter, Frankfurt, 1657-1658.

    First edition. Three parts (of four, lacking Part IV) in two small quarto volumes (8.125 x 6.5 inches; 206 x 164 mm.). This copy is lacking several leaves in Parts I and II, and the last four leaves of the index in Part III. Each part with letterpress title and added engraved title. This copy with sixty-five (of seventy-eight) engraved plates: Part I, with fourteen (of twenty-five) engraved plates (Plates XI-XIV and XVII-XX bound in, and Plates V-X loosely laid in; lacking plates I-IV, XV, XVI, XXI-XXV, with plates I-IV and XXI-XXIV supplied in photocopy and loosely laid in); Part II with thirty-one (of thirty-two) engraved plates (I-IV, VI-XXXI, plus XXVb, lacking Plate V); and Part III with twenty (of twenty-one) engraved plates (lacking Plate V). Some plates double-page and/or folding. Music and tables in the text. Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces, decorative woodcut initials.

    Contemporary quarter vellum over modern paper over thin boards, with fore-edge extensions. Spines lettered in black ink. The vellum is quite worn, with some surface loss, and with joints on Part III cracking at head of spine. The paper is quite browned, as it often is, with some foxing. Small hole in the text of Y1 (pages 169/170) in Part I, with loss of a couple of letters. In Part II, gatherings Bbb-Hhh starting to split at head of spine. A few additional marginal tears or paper flaws. Some folding plates with short stub or fold tears. Early ink annotations on letterpress title to Part I. A good copy of a work rarely found complete and in fine condition.

    Collation of a perfect copy: Part I: [40], 538, [13, index], [1, "Errores"]; Part II: [28], 432, [12, index and "Errores"], [3, "Lectori Meo"], [1, "Ad Bibliopegum"]; Part III: [20] 815, [1, blank], [16, index] pages. In this copy, Part I is lacking thirty-two leaves: BB2-4 (pages 195-200), CC1-4 (pages 201-201), DD1-3 (pages 209-214), NN1-3 (pages 281-286), OO4 (pages 295-296), XX2-4 (pages 347-352), FFF2 (pages 411-412), HHH2 (pages 427-428), HHH4 (pages 431-432), III1-3 (pages 433-438), KKK2-3 (pages 443-446), MMM3 (pages 461-462), NNN1-4 (pages 465-472), and XXX2-3 (pages 531-534); Part II is lacking five leaves: S2-3 (pages 139-142) and T1-3 (pages 145-150); Part III is lacking the final four leaves of the index. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    German Jesuit Gaspar, or Caspar, Schott (1608-1666) studied under Athanasius Kircher and was his chief collaborator, disciple, and publicist. He "became the center of a network of correspondence as other Jesuits, as well as lay experimenters and mechanicians wrote to inform him of their inventions and discoveries. Schott exchanged several letters with Guericke, seeking to draw him out by suggesting new problems, and published his later investigations. He also corresponded with Huygens and was the first to make Boyle's work on the air pump widely known in Germany...Schott's chief works, the Magia universalis and the two companion volumes, Physica curiosa and Technica curiosa, are huge, uncritical collections, mines of quaint information in which significant nuggets must be extracted from a great deal of dross. Like many of his time, Schott believed that the principles of nature and art are best revealed in their exceptions. This makes him a useful source on the history of scientific instruments and mechanical technology: a treatise on 'chronometric marvels' (which may be his own, since it is ascribed to 'a friend' and often quotes his earlier writings) contains the first description of gear teeth. Although the 'natural curiosities' include some useful matter (such as on South American mammals), his syncretic attitude and taste for the abnormal made him far readier than most of his contemporaries to credit tales of ghosts, demons, and centaurs. All this writing about magic, both natural and supernatural, involved him in slight difficulties with the censors" (A. G. Keller, in Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography (2008), at http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2830903906.html).

     

    "Books of secrets and recipes, experiments and magic tricks, found in manuscripts of the thirteenth century [were] more or less duplicated and reproduced in such printed works as [Gaspar Schott's] Universal Magic of Nature and Art, printed in four fat volumes at Würzburg in 1657-1659, and his Curious Physics or Marvels of Nature and art, of which three editions succeeded one another rapidly in 1662, 1664 and 1667, with one more before the end of the century, in 1697...It must be admitted that these bulky tomes are more pretentious than the little thirteenth century manuscripts, that they indulge more in generalities, attempt a logical classification and systematic arrangement, add subsequent technological inventions and recent scientific discovery. But under high sounding designations they still include many of the old recipes, secrets, experiments, and magic tricks, although they express scepticism as to some of them. They still emphasize the marvelous, 'curious hidden wonders and foreign to the vulgar ken,' and 'whatever in the universal nature of things is occult, paradoxical, prodigious, that is, truly magical'...Athanasius Kircher himself had planned to write such a work as Magia Universalis, but was too busy to do so, and hence put his plan and notes at the disposal of his disciple, Schott. The four tomes deal respectively with optics, acoustics, mathematics, and Physica or natural phenomena and marvels" (Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, VII, pages 590-591).

     

    Brunet V, column 219; Caillet 10003; DeBacker Sommervogel VII, columns 905-906; Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, II, page 340; Graesse VI, page 314; Poggendorff II, column 838; VD17 23:000451A.



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