Avignon: Chez Louis Chambeau, 1766. First edition. 4to, contemporary calf, gilt spine, morocco label, gilt lettering, , 552 pages. Some scattered foxing; some slight rubbing; a very good copy. Item #18695
Collects a number of the Swiss geologist and natural philosopher’s important papers, including on the distribution of fossils, on earthquakes, and on the origin of mountains. See Kennard B. Bork. “Elie Betrand (1713–1797) Sees God’s Order in Nature’s Record: The 1766 ‘Recueil de divers traités sur l’histoire naturelle.’” Earth Sciences History 10, no. 1 (1991): 73-88. Bork notes in part, “In the Recueil we see Bertrand’s eclectic epistemology attempt to deal with such topics as the interior of the earth, earthquakes, fossils, and the origin and Providential use of mountains. Celebrated in his day, Bertrand was a correspondent of Voltaire, a counselor to the Polish court, and a member of numerous learned societies. He published articles in the French Encyclopédie, and his 1763 Dictionnaire universel des fossiles was among the most-read scientific books of the century. The obscurity which enveloped Elie Bertrand seems related in large part to the fact that he was an accumulator of data and a commentator about past theories, rather than an innovator of new concepts. As the natural theology that undergirded his writing became obsolete, the cogency of his arguments diminished. In the context of his time, however, Bertrand is an instructive example of how geoscience matured during what has been termed a sterile period in the development of natural history.”.