Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    René Descartes. Tractatus de Homine, et de Formatione Foetus. Amstelodami: Elseverium, 1677. First Elzevier edition in Latin.

    More Information:

    René Descartes. Tractatus de Homine, et de Formatione Foetus. Quorum prior Notis perpetuis Lucovici de la Forge, M. D. illustratur. Amstelodami: apud Danielem Elseverium, 1677. First Elzevier edition in Latin.

    Small quarto. Approximately 7.75 x 6 inches. [76, Praefatio and Index], 239 pages. Illustrated with forty-eight intertextual engravings. Near contemporary full brown calf, covers ruled and paneled in black. Rebacked in brown morocco, preserving the gilt-stamped title and date labels (some loss to date label). Binding worn, with loss at corners, hinges cracking (yet solid), some intermittent dampstaining in text (heaviest at the first few leaves), with small ink notation and large later gift inscription on front free endpaper, and with the bookplate of Margaret and William Bloom on the front pastedown (William Bloom had written the gift inscription). Overall, very good. This edition was translated into Latin by Claude Clerselier, who also had edited the first French translation, both of which are considered superior to the first Latin translation by Schuyl.

    "Descartes considered the human body a material machine, directed by a rational soul located in the pineal body. This book was the first attempt to cover the whole field of 'animal physiology.' The work is really a physiological appendix to his Discourse on method, 1637. The first edition was translated from the French." (Garrison and Morton). "[The] first French edition [1664] is the original text as composed by Descartes and edited by his good friend, Claude Clerselier. This edition also contains the first printing of his treatise De la formation du foetus, completed just before his death. The fine woodcuts in this edition were partly based on Descartes' drawings from the manuscript and partly prepared by the co-editors, Louis de la Forge and Gérard van Gutschoven." (Heirs of Hippocrates).

    BM Readex, VII, p. 134. Copinger 1373. Garrison and Morton 574. Heirs of Hippocrates 469. Wellcome II, p. 453.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 887

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $50,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $50,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 February 16 Americana & Political - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $615,551