London: Du-Gardianis, 1651. First Edition. hardcover. Frontispiece in facsimile. (26), 1 blank, 301pp. + errata. Small 4to, contemporary vellum, wallet edges; small library stamps on page 1, title page. verso, and page 50. Londini: Typis Du-Gardianis; impensis Octaviani Pulleyn, 1651. First Edition. Very good. very good.
In this renowned collection of observations on embryology and generation Harvey formulated "the first fundamentally new theory of generation since antiquity" by "shifting attention to the egg itself as a primary generative agent." (--DSB 6, 159). The product of lifelong experiments, the treatise contradicted the traditional Aristotelian views on generation by stating that all life developed epigenetically, either literally in an egg or according to the analogy of the egg. This principle was of great importance in the history of embryology and led to the search for the mammalian ovum. Exercitationes, "the most important book on the subject to appear during the 17th century" also contains a chapter on midwifery, the first original work on obstetrics by an English author. Garrison- Morton, 467, 6146. Keynes 34. Wing H-1091; Waller 4118; Osler 710.