Oct 13, 2022 - Sale 2617

Sale 2617 - Lot 23

Price Realized: $ 4,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
Irvine, Christopher (active 1638-1685)
Medicina Magnetica, or the Rare and Wonderful Art of Curing by Sympathy.

[Edinburgh]: Printed [by C. Higgins], 1656.

First edition, first leaf blank but for signature mark "A" present before the title in this copy, lacking final blank; bound in limp parchment with later endleaves, bookplate and signature of collector and scholar of Scottish ballads William Macmath (1844-1922) circa 1879; toning to contents, trimmed closely, cropping some catchwords and signature marks, occasionally touching a final line; 6 x 3 3/4 in.

The dedication to George Monck is signed by Irvine, a surgeon in the royal army. His reference to the work, "whatsoever treasure is found, [ought] straight to be carried to the Supream of that People. Wherefore falling on this, no little treasure, I present it to your Lordship," has suggested to some scholars that Irvine himself is not the author. As a consequence William Maxwell is sometimes cited as the author. (cf. Davida Rubin's Sir Kenelm Digby, a Bibliography, San Francisco: Jeremy Norman, 1991.)

The text itself contains 100 aphorisms on natural magic, XII conclusions supporting magical medicine with proofs and explanations; twenty chapters on the method of curing by sympathy; and an appendix with more practical clinical notes based on the teachings of Paracelsus. For example, what is a practitioner to do when trying to cure a wound by applying the weapon that caused it, and said weapon is not at hand?

Wing I-1053; ESTC R202607; rare at auction.