| Author||H.J. Lam|
|Journal||Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants|
|Abstract||The well-known Ray Society undertook the publication of this new facsimile of Linnaeus’s most famous and still indispensable botanical work and had it reproduced photographically from an original copy in Linnaeus’s library, later owned by Sir James Edward Smith. It represents the third facsimile edition of the work and, in spite of the earlier Berlin (1907) and Tokyo (1934) editions, which are no longer obtainable, it will certainly fill a real need, were it only to save copies of the rare and expensive original from wear and tear.|
Although much has been written about Linnaeus and his numerous publications, the delightful frame provided by W. T. Stearn and J. L. Heller makes the new edition all the more valuable and useful, not only since the supplementary chapters enliven the book as a cultural product of its period but because the introduction and much of the appendix have been very ably written by a working taxonomist primarily concerned with Linnaeus’s works for their relevance to modern botanical nomenclature, who has thoroughly studied history, method and bibliography and also, to some extent, the life and psychology of the author and the scientific attitudes of the period. Stearn has also aimed at avoidance of the misunderstanding and confusion, which follow from treating 18th century publications as if they were 20th century productions. Emphasis is laid on what may well be the most important conclusion for Linnaean typification in the whole work (cf. p. 97), viz. that within every main entry in Species Plantarum there is, or was at some stage of its development, an illustration or a specimen seen by Linnaeus and not simply a description by a pre-Linnaean author, the exceptions being definitions or descriptions by Van Boyen, Gronovius, or Boissier de Sauvages, his disciples, so to speak, in the Linnaean method, whose work was therefore acceptable.
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