The Historie of Life and Death. With Observations Naturall and Experimental for the Prolonging of Life. Wtitten by the Right Honorable Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount of S. Alban.
[ Bacon, Francis].

London: Printed by I. Okes, for Humphrey Mosley... 1638. First edition in English, unauthorized, preceding the authorized English translation by two months. The license date for the present work is September 30; the license date for the authorized edition is December 19th. The translator of the present edition With engraved title and license leaf. Bottom corner of license leaf, title-page and engraved title skillfully restored, not affecting text or image. A little marginal browning to first and last leaf. A very good copy. With the engraved bookplate of Sir John Anstruther, Baronet (either John Anstruther, second baronet, 1718-1799, politician, or John Anstruther, four baronet (1753-1811). Early twentieth-century polished mottled calf, gilt flat spine, tooled in compartments, red and olive morocco labels, Gilt decorative borders on covers, gilt board edges and turn-ins. Marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Twelvemo. [12], 323, [1] pp. (Item ID: 16013)


The text is a portion of Part III of Bacon's great work, the Instauratio Magna. Part III was reserved for natural history, and Bacon set out in 1622 to produce six prototype natural histories, six imperfect representations of the ideal that he hoped subsequent generations would aspire to attain. The first of the histories, Historia ventorum, was published in 1622. The second, Historia vitae et mortis, was published in 1623, and the third, Historia densi et rari, was published posthumously in 1658 by William Rawley. The remaining three books never got beyond their prefaces. The present work is a translation of Historia vitae et mortis. Thus, this is the last part of the Instauratio Magna published in English in Bacon's lifetime.

".it dealt with a topic close to Bacon's heart—the prolongation of life— an objective which he took to be one of the highest that his new, operative science could attain to, and an objective that, if achieved, would mark a partial recovery of what mankind had lost with the Fall. The work is an elaborate collection of data on factors governing durability in things animate and inanimate, and mortality in living ones. the proto-statistical Historia Vitae had a powerful effect on the character of seventeenth-century 'natural-historical' Baconianism" (Dictionary of 17th Century British Philosophers)" Gibson 154. See Printing and the Mind of Man 119 for a discussion of the entire Instauratio Magna.

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