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Folio Society Published Works Number 3277

Hooke, Robert - Micrographia

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Hooke, Robert - Micrographia (Published in by The Folio Society in 2017. Limited to 750 numbered copies of which this is number 163. 400 pages set in Caslon type. Printed on Munken Pure paper. 38 plates including 5 fold-outs. Illustrations reproduced from copies of the first and second editions held at the Bodleian Library and the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. Quarter-bound in leather with cloth sides blocked in silver with a design by Neil Gower based on the eye of a grey drone-fly. Silver top edge. Introduced by Ruth Scurr and with a Brief Life by John Aubrey. Cloth covered slipcase blocked in silver. Book size 13½" × 8¾". A handsome readable edition of Hooke's seminal text with all 38 plates reproduced at full size including 5 large-scale fold outs. It was two o'clock in the morning on the 21st of January 1665 when Samuel Pepys finally put down his bedtime reading and delivered his famous verdict: 'The most ingenius book that ever I read in my life'. Though Robert Hooke begins Micrographia with almost comic humility – 'I have obtained my end, if these my small labours shall be thought fit to take up some place in the large stock of natural observations, which so many hands are busy in providing' – there can be no doubt that Pepys was right: this was a book which would forever change the way we view the world we live in. Hooke was the Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, chartered in 1662 with the succinct motto 'Nullius in verba', which can be roughly translated as 'take nobody's word for it'. Micrographia is believed to be the first publication produced by the Society, and exemplifies this new and distinctly English strain of scientific enquiry, trusting only to empirical observation as the basis of the laws of nature. Its far-reaching influence includes the coining of the scientific meaning of 'cell' – Hooke’s response to the appearance of a vastly enlarged slice of cork, which reminded him of the clustering of 'cellula' or cells around a monastery – while its spectacular illustrations were not only groundbreaking in their method, but are some of the finest examples of scientific art ever produced. )

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