"The book that introduced France to Newtonian physics": First Edition of Voltaire's Elements of the Philosophy of Newton; Inscribed by him to the surgeon who attended Newton in his final illness
Londres [Paris]: Prault, 1738.
First French edition of one of the most elegantly illustrated science books ever printed and the book that introduced France to Newtonian physics; a scarce presentation copy inscribed by Voltaire. Octavo, bound in full contemporary calf with gilt tooling to the spine in six compartments within raised gilt bands, red morocco spine label lettered in gilt, gilt ruling to the panels, inner dentelles, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Illustrated with two frontispiece portraits of both Newton and Voltaire, six full page plates, one folding plate, and illustrations throughout the text. Presentation copy, inscribed by Voltaire on the front free endpaper to William Cheselden, one of the most influential surgeons of 18th century England who attended Newton in his final illness. Although it is unknown if Voltaire and Newton met, Voltaire attended Newton’s funeral in 1727 while living in exile in England. During this exile he became an adherent of Newtonian physics and philosophy which he saw as the embodiment of the Enlightenment victory over Christian dogma and as the destroyer of the errors of Cartesianism. Voltaire dedicated the work to his mistress, La Madame la Marquise du Chastellet, who was a fellow scholar of Newton and completed the first French translation of the Principia in 1759. From the library of Dr. Adrian Pollock. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Pollock was a leader in the field of non-destructive acoustic emission testing, an approach to emission testing which addresses dynamic processes in materials by listening to the energy released by objects. He amassed a large book collection covering the history of science which he acquired throughout his travels between the United States and United Kingdom and from international catalogs. Newton was a particular favorite of Pollock’s as the two scientists worked in the same field and shared an alma mater. In very good condition with light shelfwear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Exceedingly rare, surely one of the most significant examples of this work.
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