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Paracelsus.  Zwen [i.e., zwey] tractatus des Hocherfarnen vnd bewärtisten Teutschen Philosophi vnd beyder Artzney Doctoris Philippi Theophrasti Paracelsi. I. De viribus membrorum spiritualium. II. De Electro. Mit Erklärung ettlicher Wörter und praeparationum. [colophon: Getruckt zu Straszburg: durch Bernhard Jobin], 1572. Small 8vo (16.5 cm; 7'). [7], 23, [2] ff., port.
$11,500.00

Michael Toxites (1515–81) here presents his edited text of and preface to this posthumous publication of two treatises by Paracelsus (i.e., Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheimm, 1493–1541). Ernst Weil in his Catalogue 22 wrote of this work: "The first part is pharmaceutical, the second on the metal electron" — this metal being the gold-silver amalgam once upon a time allocated to Jupiter in the alchemists' system, but later deleted entirely. It was thought to be able to "give the qualities of precious metals to the baser ones," like the true philosopher's stone (Thompson, p. 42; Pagel, p. 87).
        The text is in German in Fraktur type. A fine => woodcut portrait of Paracelsus at the age of 47 is on the verso of the last leaf of the preface, opposite the first page of text; some minute inked notes have been made in its margins and => an alchemical symbol that we have not identified is inked in its righthand margin in an oval.
        Toxites (born Johann Michael Schütz) was poet laureate of Holy Roman Emperor under Charles V, himself an alchemist, and, like Paracelsus, a doctor.
        Evidence of readership: The recto of the front free endpaper is filled with => quotations from the Bible that the reader feels bear on the text of the first tract; the verso of same bears an extensive quotation from Toxites' foreword to Paraceleus' Astronomia magna. At least one reader has written commentary in the margins of both texts and even written miniscule inter-liner corrections, observations, or explanations of words. Some marginalia is merely "indexing" so as to be able to re-find a text section by keyword in the margin; other marginalia tie concepts in the texts to other published texts. In the blank area below the colophon and continuing on the blank verso of that same leaf is an extensive quotation from Georg Forberger followed by more quotations from the Bible that are apposite to Paracelsus' text.
        Searches of NUC and WorldCat locate only four copies in U.S. libraries and searches via COPAC, VD16, and KVK find precious few in Britain or Europe.

Sudhoff 141; Ritter, p. 1144; Wellcome 4788; Durling 3494; VD16 P611. Not found in Gerguson or Duveen. On "electron," see: C.J.S. Thompson, The Lure and Romance of Alchemy (London: Harrap, 1932), p. 42; and cited in Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance (Basel: Karger, 1982), fn. 230, p. 87. 19th-century tan half pigskin and marbled boards, with remnants of an old paper label. Front free endpaper and title-leaf loosening, moderately browned, good margins; overall a rather nice copy of a => remarkably scarce work of pharmaceutical and alchemical science.  (37189)   Please RESHELVE This.


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