Paris, Deterville, 1804.
8vo [197 x 128 mm] of (1) bl. l., xii pp., 394 pp. A few foxing. Bound in full tree roan, blind-stamped fillet on covers, flat spine finely decorated, green morocco lettering-piece. Contemporary binding.
First edition of this work composed on the order of the government in order to be used for the teaching of natural history in secondary schools. Pritzel, 2476.
« I inserted in the first volume of compared anatomy by Mr. Cuvier, in 1800, the first attempts that I made of classification, according to natural families, genera of insects. In the two following years, I continued with this work. During the Year IX I published an extract in the Journal de Physique and in the Magasin encyclopédique. In 1804 was published the first edition of my ‘Traité élémentaire d’histoire naturelle’, in which I presented in a more extended way the outline that I had been following for four years in my natural history lessons at the ‘écoles centrales’» (Duméril).
André-Marie-Constant Duméril (1774-1860), a doctor and natural scientist, had a great career in education. He was a professor of anatomy at the Faculty of Medicine, and also taught at the Museum of Natural History, as well as at the Ecole centrale of the Pantheon as substitute of Cuvier. He was elected member of the Academy of Sciences in 1816, and member of the Academy of Medicine in1731. He is finally appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour two months before his death.
The dedication to Cuvier presents the latter as a beloved friend of Dumeril, but also as a great natural scientist who contributed with his studies to give the possibility to the author to produce this work. Besides, they worked together on the Leçons d’anatomie comparée de M. G. Cuvier published in 1799 in Paris. Duméril explains in this dedication the various classifications made in this book and refers to other scholars who contributed to this evaluation of the situation of natural history in France, as Lacepède, Lamarck, Haüy, etc.
An interesting teaching work of natural sciences written by a great French natural scientist commissioned by the Imperial government.
Provenance : ex libris Doisy Md, Passementier à Verdun on the half-title.