two PRB&M volumes are fascinating to work and play
Both Italian, both 17th-century, they are definitely “the same book.” But one is folio, one is quarto; one offers its images engraved, the other bears the same array of images woodcut.
The two are VERY different in effect in ways that are pleasing and instructive!
"Porta's system . . . leads him constantly to conclusions of analogies between plants, animals and men. Similar humours are found in various apparently unrelated organisms. Plants and animals that correspond in shape are interrelated. A leaf formed like a stag horn shares the character of the deer. The horse is a noble animal, therefore it is a sign of nobility to walk erect with the head held high. Men who resemble a donkey are like that animal: timid, stupid, nervous. He who looks like an ostrich is akin to it in character: he is timid, elegant, vicious, stolid. A man who reminds us of a swine is a swine, eating greedily and having all the other characteristics, such as rudeness, irascibility, lack of discipline, sordidness, lack of intelligence [and] modesty. In a similar way, men who look like ravens are impudent; those who resemble oxen are stubborn, lazy, irascible; men who have lips shaped like those of a lion are hearty, magnanimous, courageous; others who make us think of a ram are timid, malicious and humble. When practising medicine, Porta had many occasions to observe his patients, and to study their character and complexion; the results of this studious inquiry are laid down in his book." (Seligmann)
This work was written in Latin and first published in 1586 under the title De humana physiognomia. It saw 19 editions before 1701, and has been translated into Italian (1598; translation by Salvatore Scarano), German (1651), French (1655), and English (1817). This edition has a goodly number of xylographic historiated initials and 92 in-text engravings, most of which are repeated so that the total number of pictures is much greater. χ1 was intended as a cancel for F3, but was merely inserted without removing the original F3. It has a different engraving from the original F3, but the text is the same.
Seligmann, The History of Magic, 319. On physiognomy, see: Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, VII, 448 & following. On Porta, see: Webster’s New Biographical Dictionary 811. Late 19th- or early 20th-century half vellum over paper printed in imitation of treed calf; spine with maroon leather title label, gilt-lettered and bordered. Some abrasions, mostly on edges; spine label starting to peel off. Paper with browning or staining, chipping, tears, and holes; one half of one image neatly excised (this being the face of a cat, present elsewhere in a repetition of the plate); another page with a section torn away taking much of an image on each side (both images, like that of the cat, present elsewhere unblemished). Various repairs to these paper flaws. Scattered terse marginalia and occasional doodling.
Seligmann, The History of Magic, 319. On physiognomy, see: Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, VII, 448 & following. On Porta, see: Webster’s New Biographical Dictionary 811. Vellum over paste boards, soiled and cockled with a little chipping; vellum along front joint cracked but joint strongly holding. Ex-library: paper labels on spine and rubber-stamps, including one on title-page. Edges bumped and pages severely cockled (though with no waterstaining); some soiling especially to top edges and margins, with a few edge chips. Plates in very clear, strong impressions. Price reduced for faults, but a volume offering much despite them. (4654)