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A 1598 edition of Lemnius's Secrect miracle of nature



Levinus LEMNIUS. De Miraculis occultis naturae, Libri IIII, item De Vita cum Animi et Corporis Incolumitate recte instituenda, liber unus. Francofurti, Ex Officina Paltheniana, sumtibus heredum Petri Fischeri, 1598. 16mo (12 x 8,3 cm). [16], 582, [56] pp. Recent period-style limp coarse grained cream coloured paper boards. Paper browned, leaf 2I3 with a small hole. Signature in ink on title-page and the date "1808", deaccession stamp on back of the title-page, 17th-century annotations on recto of rear endpaper. A rare edition of Lemnius's most influential work, The secret miracle of nature. Lemnius (1505 – 1568) was a Dutch physician and author who studied medicine under Rembert Dodoens, Konrad Gesner and Vesalius. He practised in Zierikzee (Zeeland) from 1527 onward. Devoted to and beloved by his patients, he courageously catered to both their physical and spiritual needs during several outbreaks of the plague. He authored several medical books, the most influential being the present De Miraculis occultis naturae (The secret miracles of nature). First published in 1559 it went through numerous editions and was translated into several vernacular languages. Among the topics discussed are balneology, teratology, psychiatry and precious stones. ”It is a most heterogeneous collection, heterogeneously piled together, of notions on physiological, physical, medical, religious, and moral topics, with attempts to explain phenomena in nature which subsequent enquiry has shown do not exist at all. The collection is a very curious one, notwithstanding, and furnishes good instances of popular ideas about natural things current three hundred years ago” (Ferguson). Durling, A catalogue of sixteenth century printed books in the National Library of Medicine, 2776; Van Hoorn, Lemnius, 306; VD16 ZV 16010 (5 copies); for the author: NNBW 8, 1027-28; cf. Ferguson, Bibliographical Notes on Histories of Inventions and Books of Secrets vol. I. p. 10.

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