La Fleche: George Griveau, 1645. FIRST EDITION. With 7 plates and 24 text engravings, woodcut initials and headpieces. Contemporary vellum, light stains on covers, title written on spine; library stamps on the first few leaves, staining and browning to last few signatures. Early book-plate on the fly-leaf. Item #15940
First and only edition of a fascinating work on magnetism, notable not only for the author’s anti-Copernican and anti-Galilean views, but also as a history of the magnet. Grandami uses his own theories about terrestrial magnetism in an attempt to prove the immobility of the earth. “No magnetic body rotates around its poles; the earth possesses magnetic properties as shown by Gilbert, therefore it does not turn around its poles - a denial of the rotation of the earth” (Wheeler Gift Catalogue, 122). “The character of terrestrial immobility is derived from God’s eternity, for magnetic force is essentially the power of God’s hand.” He goes on to describes an experiment that illustrates the behavior of a spherical loadstone which he interpreted as proof of the earth’s immobility. The experiment shows that if the loadstone was placed with its axis perpendicular with respect to the horizon, a certain point of its equator would naturally turn towards the pole of the world. The lovely engravings that accompany the text depict charming cherubs and angels busy demonstrating the attraction of magnetic bodies and the theory of magnetism in general.
Grandami (1588-1672), a French Jesuit physicist and astronomer, was dean of the college at La Flèche, where Descartes was schooled and the site of the main Jesuit press. He taught literature, natural philosophy and theology. He corresponded with Descartes, Huygens and Mersenne, and made detailed observations of comets of 1664 and 1665, which caused much religious and academic debate regarding their paths and natures. Grandami later published Le cours de la comete. . . . (1665), a book describing the two comets.