Stockholm: Henrik A. Nordström, 1821. First Thus. Octavo (22cm). In original tan paper wraps, untrimmed; [iv], -151, pp; one page of publisher's ads at rear. Inscribed on verso of front wrap: "a Mr. le Baron Cuvier / hommage respectueux de / Mr. Berzelius" ("to M. the Baron Cuvier, respectful tribute from Mr. Berzelius"). A crisp copy, with discoloration and rubbing to paper wraps; dampstains to both paper wraps near spine and to front upper corner; lacking paper over spine; internally clean, bright, and remarkably fresh: Very Good.
A Swedish translation of Cuvier's early geological writing, inscribed and possibly sent to Cuvier by Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848), the Secretary of the Swedish Academy of Science; thus, an example of the European network of scientific correspondence in the early nineteenth century.
Cuvier opposed Lamarck's early ideas of biological evolution; believed that the Earth had only existed for a short period of time; and argued that "revolutions" (catastrophic events) shaped its topography and rendered certain species extinct. He set out his arguments for geological catastrophism for the first time in print in the "Discours préliminaire" of his Recherches sur les ossements fossiles de quadrupèdes (1812), as an explanation for the bizarre fossils discovered in the course of his pioneering paleontological work. The preface, and this Swedish translation of it, both precede his full-length book on catastrophism, Discours sur les révolutions de la surface du globe (1825).
This copy was inscribed and sent, or intended to be sent, to Cuvier by Berzelius: a notable chemist, known acquaintance of Cuvier's, and an admirer of his catastrophism theory (see Bernhard pp. 37-41 and Frängsmyr 230). Berzelius traveled widely in Europe (including a visit to Paris in 1818), and became "personally acquainted with almost all of the leading chemists of his day" (DSB p.91). As Secretary of the Swedish Academy of Science, he corresponded "with scientists all over Europe" (91). He also published annual reports on recent developments in physics, chemistry, and geology, beginning in 1821 (Frängsmyr 228). His contributions to chemistry include the law of constant proportions; a major textbook, Lärbok i kemien (1808); the coinage of several terms, including "protein" and "polymer"; the identification and isolation of multiple elements; and the invention of the system of chemical symbols for the elements still used today.
NOT IN WARD/CAROZZI (but cf. 566-8, 570-580 for other editions and translations of Cuvier's geological writings). See also Tore Frängsmyr, "The Geological Ideas of J. J. Berzelius" (The British Journal for the History of Science 9:2, 228-236); and C. G. Bernhard, Through France with Berzelius (Elsevier: 2013).