Florence: Onofri, 1674. THIRD EDITION OF FRANCESCO REDI'S MASTERPIECE REFUTING SPONTANEOUS REGENERATION, first published in 1668. "A milestone in the history of modern science," Redi's book outlines the first series of experiments to disprove 'spontaneous generation' -- "a theory also known as Aristotelian abiogenesis" (Wikipedia). Redi's seminal work includes 39 particularly gorgeous copperplate engravings. "At the time, [the] prevailing wisdom was that maggots arose spontaneously from rotting meat"; in other words, that nonliving matter could generate the production of living organisms" (ibid). In his experiments, Redi captured maggots and waited for them to metamorphose, becoming flies. "Also, when dead flies or maggots were put in sealed jars with dead animals or veal, no maggots appeared, but when the same thing was done with living flies, maggots did" (Wikipedia). Redi compared two groups of meat: "the first left exposed to insects, and the second group covered by a barrier of gauze. In the exposed meat, flies laid eggs, which quickly hatched into maggots. On the gauze-covered meat, no maggots appeared, but Redi observed fly eggs on the outer surface of the gauze" (Benecke, A Brief History of Forensic Entomology). Knowing full well the terrible fates of out-spoken scientists like Giordino Bruno and Galileo Galilei, Redi was careful to express his new views in a manner that would not contradict to theological tradition of the Church; hence, his interpretations were always based on biblical passages, such as his famous adage: omne vivum ex vivo ('All life comes from life')" (Wikipedia). Francesco Redi was an Italian physician, naturalist, and poet; this work, as said, is the first Latin edition, the second edition overall. Item #1241
CONDITION & DETAILS: Florenz: Onofri. 1674. Quarto (9.5 x 7 inches; 238 x 175mm). Complete. , 136, , 1. 39 engravings total (29 numbered; 10 unnumbered; 3 folding). Vellum bound with the title written on the spine in an early hand. A large section of the vellum has been cut from the rear board and is missing. The binding and its stitching, however, remain very solid. Vellum has some creasing, but is still handsome. Consistent with its age, minor foxing and aging.