Essai sur les Glaciers et sur le Terrain Erratique du Bassin du Rhone. Jean de CHARPENTIER.

Presentation Copy of a Geological Classic

Essai sur les Glaciers et sur le Terrain Erratique du Bassin du Rhone.

One large folding hand-tinted map (tear neatly repaired without loss), 8 lithographic plates (one folding), & text illus. 2 p.l., x, 363 (i.e. 362) pp., one leaf of errata. 8vo, orig. printed upper wrapper bound in cont. half-cloth & marbled boards, spine gilt. Lausanne: M. Ducloux, 1841.

First edition. This is a classic work on the phenomenon of erratic blocks and the function of glaciers in transporting them. Charpentier’s theory, delivered in a paper in 1834, was met with disbelief and scorn. “Undismayed, Charpentier continued his observations and invited the incredulous to visit him and see the evidence for themselves. Among his visitors was Louis Agassiz, who was soon carried away with such enthusiasm for the theory of the Ice Age that he visited a number of glaciers and blocks and rushed into print, ahead of Charpentier, with his Études sur les Glaciers (1840)…Charpentier received Agassiz’ book on 28 October 1840, three days before he finished his own Essai sur les Glaciers, which was published in February 1841. The scrupulous care with which he weighed the evidence and described the phenomenon of erratic blocks and the function of glaciers in transporting them makes this book a classic.”–D.S.B., III, p. 211.

While Agassiz is generally credited with the origin of the theory of the Ice Age, the theory had in fact been developed long before by Charpentier.

Very nice copy with a presentation inscription from the author on the upper wrapper: “à Monsieur Schwedler hommage de l’auteur” (the final four letters of “auteur” have been cropped by the binder’s knife).

Price: $1,650.00

Item ID: 3584

See all items in Geology, Natural History, Science
See all items by