GOETHE, J.W. VON.

Versuch die Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären.

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Gotha, Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, 1790. 8vo (228 x 145mm). pp. (6), 86. Contemporary boards, preserved in an attractive half red morocco box, with gilt lettering.

Goethe's pioneering essay on the metamorphosis of plants

A large uncut copy of the first edition of Goethe's pioneering essay on the metamorphosis of plants. "A work of utmost consequence in the deveopment of the theory of evolution is one by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe, popularly known as Germany's most famous poet and dramatist, was also one of a group of German nature-philosophers. A forerunner of Darwin in many respects, he believed in organic evolution. He coined the word 'morphology.' In 'Versuch die Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären' (1790), Goethe advanced the theory that all parts of flowers are metamorphosed or modified" (Sparrow, Milestones of Science p. 300). Uncut copies are rare.

Schmid 17; Stafleu & Cowan 2081.