Instinct and Reason: Deduced from Electro-Biology

London: Reeve, Benham, and Reeve, 1850. Hardcover. Octavo size, 354 pp. Near fine. Item #18031901

"Instinct and Reason" is Alfred Smee's (1818-1877) treatise on electrical physiology, and it delves into the sensations and thought processes, such as pleasure and pain, instincts, and the use of language, in humans, often comparing these processes to those in animals. Smee was not only an accomplished surgeon, but also a specialist in metallurgy and electrical engineering, and he experimented and invented in these fields; for example, he invented a battery using zinc and silver suspended in sulphuric acid. The book is a fascinating example of the development of a particular branch of science, accompanied by full-colour plates depicting various plants and animals, as well as black-and-white wood engravings throughout the text.

This volume contains the bookplate of Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861), an avid book collector thought to be the benefactor of the Brontë sisters; it is speculated that this may be why Charlotte Brontë used the pen name "Currer Bell" when she published "Jane Eyre".

___DESCRIPTION: Half green leather with marbled paper boards, gilt lines along the edges of the leather, the spine with four raised bands, gilt decorations and ruled boarders, and a red leather spine label with gilt lettering, all edges marbled, grey endpapers, frontispiece a black-and-white lithograph, black-and-white wood engravings throughout, ten plates, including the frontispiece, five in colour and two in monochrome, and three black-and-white, throughout; octavo size (8.5" by 5.5"), pagination: [i-v] vi-xxxiv [1] 2-320. Tasteful prior owner bookplate on the front paste-down endpaper, belonging to Frances Mary Richardson Currer.

___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, with clean boards, the leather on the binding smooth and supple, the corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, and the interior is clean and bright; we note the following condition issues, all extremely minor: some overall rubbing to the paper edges of the boards, bottom corners gently bumped, bookplate foxed, some off-setting to the front free endpaper, foxing to the frontispiece and title page, as well as to the first and last flyleaves, and a very short notation in pencil from a prior owner in the upper margin of the first page of the Preface; even with this short list of minor defects, overall a lovely copy indeed.

___POSTAGE:  International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.

___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.

Price: $500.00

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