Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Swimming In a Different Sea"

I've been enjoying the beautiful etchings illustrating Louis Figuier's The Ocean World; Being a Description of The Sea and some of its Inhabitants published c. 1872. (Two illustrate my earlier post titled The Other Side of the Mountain, Revisited.) The artist's name is not identified in this edition published by Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. but an edition published by D. Appleton, New York lists M. Ch. Bevalet as the engraver. Illustrations to other works by Figuier have been attributed to Auguste Faguet, E. Bayard, Freeman, Giacomelli , Yan D'Argent, Prior, Foulquier, Riou, LaPlante, and others.

Louis Figuier(1819-1894) was a scientist, doctor, pharmacist, chemist and writer, well-known for his popularizations of scientific subjects. A reviewer in his day described Figuier's writing as "render[ing] dry science entertaining to the multitudes."

Figuier also wrote about occult subjects including alchemy (Alchimie et les alchimistes, ou essai historique et critique sur la philosophie hermetique). Another interesting title is: The Day After Death, or, Our Future Life, According to Science. Figuier's four-volume Histoire du merveilleux was a well-documented study which included information on animal magnetism, the divining rod, mediums, and spirits. Le Lendemain de la mort, ou La Vie future selon la science (1872) deals with the transmigration of souls.

I also read that Jules Verne was his assistant at university.

1 comment:

randy said...

Very cool. I especially like the note about Jules Verne...one of my faves.