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LINNAEUS, Carl (1707-1778)

Философийа ботаники, изйаснайузайа первйе онож основанийа. Соcиненийа Карла Линнейа ... Изданнайа но российском жазйке ... Тимофейем Смелоуским ...
СанктПетерсбург, при Императорской Академии Наук, 1800.

[Filosofiya botaniki, izyasnayuzaya pervye onoj osnovaniya. Socineniya Karla Linneya ... Izdannaya no rossiyskom jazyke ... Timofeyem Smelowskim ...
Sankt Petersburg, pri Imperatorskoy Akademii Nauk, 1800].

This is one of the earliest translations into Russian of a book by Linnaeus. Extremely rare. Soulsby ”Wanting”. It seems to be missing in most of the great Linnaeus collections. Some of Linnaeus’ dissertations and other periodical contributions had appeared in Russian periodicals already in the 18th century but none of his books. A section of the 13th edition of the Systema Naturae (1788) containing, however, only the mammals, appeared in two volumes in 1804. E.G. Bobrov says that this Russian ”Philosophia botanica” was published as a handbook for medical students. It contains an abridged rendering of the work by Linnaeus with some chapters omitted and some new ones added, with most of the notes and comments excluded. The book includes, as examples, many plants which could be demonstrated for students in the Medical Garden of St Petersburg. The editor and translator, Smelowsky, reproduces the same 11 plates as in the first edition of Philosophia botanica, and he gives translation of Latin terms by which he greatly contributed to the development of botanical terminology in the Russian language. Linnaeus’ sexual system of plants is quite thoroughly presented in this book. Bobrov also tells that there was a great interest towards a complete translation of Philosophia botanica in 1975 when the Botanical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences suggested to publish a translation and to publish it in the series ”Classics of Science”. There was a translation made already in the 1930s. The ”Nauka” Publishing House started the preparation but found that the manuscript needed some editing which delayed publication. In his article in SLÅ Bobrov hopes the book will see the light in 1978 celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of Linnaeus’ death. It was finally published in 1989, a book of 451 pages.

Collation: Pp (4) title & dedication, IV, 195, (112), LXI, (1). With 11 engraved plates. According to Tullberg there should be a stipple engraved portrait signed ”Gravé A. Kalpaschnucoff”, which was copied from the one in the Berlin 1790 edition of Philosophia Botanica, made after Bernigeroth. The Russian portrait is missing here but replaced by the one in the 1790 edition, loosely inserted.

Binding: Contemporary Russian calf, red spine label.

Provenance: Purchased 2004 from Dr Paul Sijders in The Netherlands, who told that this copy was part of a legacy in his family that is of Russian-Polish origin.

References: Soulsby 475; Bobrov, E.G. ’Works by and on Linnaeus Published in Russia.’ in Svenska Linnésällskapets Årsskrift 1978; Tullberg, Tycho, Linnéporträtt, 1907. No. 66.

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