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HUMBOLDT, Alexander von.

Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe.

Translated from the German, by E. C. Otté [vol. 4 with B. H. Paul; vol. 5 with W. S. Dallas].

London, Henry G. Bohn, 1851-60 Stock Code: 139341
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A uniformly bound set of Otté's English translation of Humboldt's magnum opus, its third appearance in English, here in a mixed edition: volumes three and five in first edition, the remainder printed in 1860.
First published in German 1845-62, Humboldt's magnum opus "erupted onto the scientific scene in Europe and triggered a massive shift in cultural and intellectual currents... three translations into English followed immediately and editions in ten other languages appeared within the next decade" (Sachs, p. 89). Its first appearance in English was in an unauthorized translation by Augustin Prichard (two volumes, 1845 and 1848, the pirated edition disliked by Darwin); the second was by Elizabeth Sabine (from 1846), and the third by Anglo-Danish linguist Elise Otté (1818-1903). Otté's translation for Bohn's Scientific Library was first published in five volumes from 1849 to 1858. In it "the notes are placed beneath the text; Humboldt's analytical Summaries and the passages hitherto suppressed are included, and new and comprehensive indices are added", though subsequent editors have challenged the assertion regarding excisions (Sabin, p. 541). Otté, who wrote largely for scientific periodicals, also translated Humboldt's Views of Nature with Bohn in 1850.

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5 volumes, small octavo. Original decoratively blindstamped red cloth, spines lettered in gilt (priced 3/6 at foot of vols. 1-4, 5/- to fifth), blue publisher's advertisement endpapers.


Engraved portrait frontispiece to vol. 1.


First two vols. continuously paginated, without the half-titles; extensive indexes to each vol., publisher's catalogues to 3 and 4. Spines faded, a few minor marks to cloth, ends and corners bumped and rubbed, frontispiece a little loose, a couple of inner hinges tender, excepting the very occasional pencil mark the contents clean and evenly toned. A very good set in the attractively patterned original cloth.


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