ARISTOTLE'S MASTERPIECE Aristotle's Compleat Master Piece. In Three Parts: Displaying the Secrets of Nature in the Generation of Man... To Which is Added, a Treasure of Health; Or, the Family Physician... The Fifteenth Edition, Printed, and Sold by the Booksellers, 1723

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Lot 197
ARISTOTLE'S MASTERPIECE
Aristotle's Compleat Master Piece. In Three Parts: Displaying the Secrets of Nature in the Generation of Man... To Which is Added, a Treasure of Health; Or, the Family Physician... The Fifteenth Edition, Printed, and Sold by the Booksellers, 1723

Sold for £ 765 (US$ 927) inc. premium
ARISTOTLE'S MASTERPIECE
Aristotle's Compleat Master Piece. In Three Parts: Displaying the Secrets of Nature in the Generation of Man... To Which is Added, a Treasure of Health; Or, the Family Physician... The Fifteenth Edition, frontispiece with full-page woodcut illustration recto and verso, folding woodcut plate ("The form of a child in the womb, disrob'd of its tunicles"), 7 woodcut illustrations in the text, loss to a few letters at lower margin of pp.59/60 and pp.125/126 (small burnhole), extremes of corners turned, contemporary sheep, worn at edges [ESTC N493145, Wellcome copy only], 8vo, Printed, and Sold by the Booksellers, 1723

Footnotes

  • RARE EDITION, only the Welcome copy cited on ESTC, and this with a variant collation. In the Wellcome copy the second section ("Family Physician") has 10 unnumbered pages, whilst our copy has 14 numbered pages. First published in 1684 all early editions are very scarce, presumably due to the book's risque subject matter of women's bodies, sex, and pregnancy, which led it to be sold by "country peddlers and in general stores and taverns; regular booksellers seldom advertised it, though they usually had it under the counter" (The Library Company of Philadelphia, 'Treasures', online catalogue). The attribution to Aristotle is totally spurious and was probably a vain attempt to give the work some measure of respectability; but although it was effectively banned until the mid-twentieth century, the prohibition didn't keep it from circulating. Such enduring popularity was partly due to the practical advice on pregnancy and the care of infants, and partly to its rather sensationalised descriptions of the sexual act and forms of "monstrosity", the subjects depicted in the woodcut illustrations.

    Provenance: "Elisabeth Scott her book 1743", ownership inscription on verso of title.
Contacts
ARISTOTLE'S MASTERPIECE Aristotle's Compleat Master Piece. In Three Parts: Displaying the Secrets of Nature in the Generation of Man... To Which is Added, a Treasure of Health; Or, the Family Physician... The Fifteenth Edition, Printed, and Sold by the Booksellers, 1723
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