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Buffon: Oeuvres Complètes, Volume 8 Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi

Monograph
Series: Buffon: Oeuvres Complètes Volume: 8
By: Georges-Louis Leclerc De Buffon(Author), Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton(Illustrator), Stéphane Schmitt(Editor), Cédric Crémière(Contributor)
640 pages, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Honore Champion
Buffon: Oeuvres Complètes, Volume 8
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  • Buffon: Oeuvres Complètes, Volume 8 ISBN: 9782745326157 Hardback Mar 2014 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks
    £215.00
    #261969
Price: £215.00
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About this book

Language: French

In this eighth volume of Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, originally published in 1760, Buffon and Daubenton finish dealing with the wild animals of France: hedgehog, shrew, mole, bats, edible dormouse, garden dormouse, hazel dormouse, and Norwegian rat. Then, following the plan announced in 1749, they began to approach foreign species. However, the transition does not take place abruptly, and a group of animals of uncertain or intermediate geographical status make the passage gradual: thus, the guinea pig, an animal imported from the New World but which has become common in Europe; the marmot and the bear, which live on the mountainous margins of the kingdom; and the beaver, present in France but whose complex societies only fully flourish in the great wild spaces of North America. The volume ends with three indisputably exotic species: the raccoon, the coati and the agouti.

Buffon, as he has done since the beginning of the history of quadrupeds, takes every opportunity he can to break the monotony of descriptions and address more general scientific or philosophical questions. The "deformity" of the bat, for example, allows him to reaffirm his criticism of final causes and Linnean classifications, based on a small number of criteria and totally inapplicable in the present case. Similarly, the article on the beaver offers food for thought on the nature of intelligence and animal societies, that is to say, beyond that, on the singularity of man.

Summary in French:
Dans ce huitième tome de l’Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, daté de 1760, Buffon et Daubenton terminent de traiter des animaux sauvages de France : hérisson, musaraigne, taupe, chauves-souris, loir, lérot, muscardin et surmulot. Puis, suivant le plan annoncé dès 1749, ils commencent à aborder les espèces étrangères. Cependant la transition ne s’effectue pas brutalement, et un ensemble d’animaux de statut géographique incertain ou intermédiaire rendent le passage graduel : ainsi, le cochon d’Inde, animal importé du Nouveau Monde mais devenu commun en Europe ; la marmotte et l’ours, qui vivent sur les marges montagneuses du royaume ; et le castor, présent en France mais dont les sociétés complexes ne s’épanouissent pleinement que dans les grands espaces sauvages de l’Amérique du Nord. Le volume s’achève avec trois espèces indiscutablement exotiques : le raton, le coati et l’agouti.

Buffon, comme il l’a fait depuis le début de l’histoire des quadrupèdes, saisit toutes les occasions qu’il peut pour rompre la monotonie des descriptions et aborder des questions scintifiques ou philosophiques plus générales. La «difformité » de la chauve-souris, par exemple, lui permet de réaffirmer sa critique des causes finales et des classifications linnéennes, fondées sur un petit nombre de critères et totalement inapplicables dans le cas présent. De même, l’article sur le castor offre matière à réflexion sur la nature de l’intelligence et des sociétés animales, c’est-à-dire, au-delà, sur la singularité de l’homme.

Customer Reviews

Monograph
Series: Buffon: Oeuvres Complètes Volume: 8
By: Georges-Louis Leclerc De Buffon(Author), Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton(Illustrator), Stéphane Schmitt(Editor), Cédric Crémière(Contributor)
640 pages, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Honore Champion
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