Essame de gl’ingegni de gl’huomini…

Venice, presso Aldo, 1590


8vo. pp. [xvi], 367, [xvii]. *⁸ A-2A⁸. Italic letter. Small dolphin and anchor device on title, historiated and grotesque woodcut initials and ornaments. Early shelf mark on pastedown, ‘groilo. descr. 16 Decembris 1605’ below, slightly later mss. monogram ‘P.B.’ in lower margin of t-p, armorial stamp C1800 above. Generally a very good, crisp copy in contemporary limp vellum, spine worn at bands and at tail, small worm trail in upper cover.

Fourth and final edition of the first Italian translation of the earliest modern work on psychology. It is enlarged over the first edition by the addition of a second index. It also contains, most interestingly a four page priced sale catalogue of Aldus’ books, ‘Libri di stampa d’Aldo, che si trouano al presente.’ First printed in a now unfindable Spanish edn. of 1575, through the medium of this translation by Camillo Camilli, the work rapidly achieved European popularity and the status of a classical medical text – Lessing’s German translation appeared in 1785, and it was translated into English by Richard Carew in 1616. “Camillio Camilli translated Huarte’s Essame de gl’ingegni de gl’huomini per apprender le scienze which was first issued in Venice in 1582 and which by 1590, had reached four impressions in two editions. It was dedicated to the distinguished philosopher Federico Pendasio,” G. Sumillera ‘Richard Carew, The Examination of Men’s Wits’. Huarte’s particular theme was the respective influence of heredity and upbringing in determining different mental powers and aptitudes, and intelligence. He concluded that the most assiduous reading and proficient masters could not make a person excel in a study for which he had no natural aptitude. He developed his idea by identifying the various constitutional and psychological characteristics which best suited people for different professions and walks of life. On the other hand he did not underestimate the importance of education in the training of the mind, and devotes several chapters to the rearing of children so as to maximise their intelligence and their talents.”Huarte y Navarro was a distinguished physician and psychologist. His Examen, which gained for him a European reputation, was the first attempt to show the connection between psychology and physiology” Garrison & Morton 464.

BM STC It. p. 335. Adams H 1118. Renouard 244:2. Palau 116518. Thorndike VI pp. 413-4, see also Diamond, Roots of Psychology.