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"A new epoch in chemistry" - PMM

LAVOISIER, Antoine Laurent. Elements of Chemistry, In a New Systematic Order, Containing All the Modern Discoveries... Third Edition... Edinburgh, William Creech, 1796.

8vo., xlvii, (49)-592 pp., xiii folding engraved plates, 2 folding tables. Bound in buckram. Plates lightly foxed. Library stamp on title and labels on end leaves. Generally good.


Robert Kerr (1755-1813) made the first English translation of Lavoisier?s Traité elementaire de Chimie (Paris, 1789). Printing & the Mind of Man headlines the original edition as "A new epoch in chemistry." A more recent analysis pinpoints the importance of this book: "Lavoisier's most fundamental innovations transformed how one presents, how one argues, scientific knowledge and how, as a result, one develops and transmits it. The transformation of the terms and structures of scientific discussions had consequences beyond chemistry-consequences that Lavoisier himself did not foresee". W. C. Anderson, Between the library & the laboratory (John Hopkins, 1984) 1-2.

Duveen points out that this edition is actually a reprinting of the second edition of the Kerr translation. It contains information from a letter which Lavoisier (1743-1794) had sent to Kerr announcing his plan to compose a new work, a plan prevented by the "sanguinary tyranny of the monster Robespierre." First published Edinburgh, 1790.

* PMM 238; Duveen, Lavoisier 166.

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