London: Printed for James Knapton, at the Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1722.
2nd Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003140
8vo (166 x 108 mm). vi, 162 pp., title with double-rule border, 5 folding engraved plates. Contemporary sheep, some gilt ruling of boards and spine (leather over boards heavily wormed and rubbed resulting in substantial loss (cardboard showing), front pastedown mostly gone, binding quite tight, hinges holding firm). Text only little browned, title slightly dust-soiled, outer margins of one plate somewhat frayed and soiled, some minor marginal dust-soiling elsewhere, but generally a crisp and clean copy internally. Provenance: W. Parkinson, Gent. / Norwich (large armorial bookplate pasted to first free endpaper). ----
DSB VI, p.611; Wing H3859 (for 1st English edition). SECOND EDITION IN ENGLISH, corrected and enlarged (first published in Latin in 1698 under the title Cosmotheoros). In this work, Huygens argued that "in the Copernican world system . . . the Earth holds no privileged position among the other planets. It would therefore be unreasonable to suppose that life should be restricted to the earth alone . . . Huygens came to the conclusion that, in all probablilty, the plant and animal worlds of other planets are very like those of the earth" (DSB). The fascination with what lies beyond the boundaries of our world have driven philosophy, religion and science across the centuries. Huygens was no exception. He further speculated that the moons of other planets were like ours and stated that the Moon could have no atmosphere of its own. The work has been placed in the company of Wilkins, Godwin, and Cyrano de Bergerac in its fantastical enquiries, but also within the company of Utopian writing. Despite this the book has a grounding in scientific principles (at least of the time), arguing that water was essential for life, and water on other planets must vary according to their temperatures. Being a part of the religious climate of his time Huygens still positioned arguments in theological terms, pointing out that extraterrestrial life is not denied by the Bible and wondering why God would create all other planets just to be admired from Earth. The work is a fascinating piece of speculative natural philosophy which combines near-whimsical thinking with a strict underlying desire for scientific rationalism, yet from an era when theological concerns were seen as near-inextricable from scientific ones. - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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