Sussex Saleroom: 15th September 2020
ALDINI, Giovanni (1762-1730). Essai Théorique et Expérimental sur le Galvanisme, avec une Série d' Expériences faites en Présence des Commissaires de l' Institut National de France, et en Divers Ampithéatres Anatomique de Londres. Paris: De L' Imprimerie de Fournier Fils, 1804. 4to (298 x 225mm). Half title, 10 folding engraved plates (variable spotting, staining and browning throughout, many darker spots affecting letters). Attractively-bound in later green morocco-backed marbled paper boards, spine lettered in gilt and decorated in gilt and blind, new endpapers. FIRST EDITION of this highly influential work on galvanism which presented, for the first time, a series of experiments which applied the principles of Volta and Galvani. The fine, if somewhat macabre, plates illustrate the experiments which involved heads and bodies of animals and humans, and which seem to bring them back to life. It is not beyond the realms of speculation that Mary Shelley may have been influenced both by Aldini's experiments, and those of his uncle's, Luigi Galvani, to write Frankenstein in 1818. cf. Fulton & Stanton, A Bibliography of Galvani's Writings on Animal Electricity 27; cf. PMM 240 (reference to Aldini's continuation of Galvani's work); Wheeler Gift 660.