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John Ray's Cambridge Catalogue (1660)

by Philip Oswald and Christopher Preston Ray Society
Pub Date:
Hbk 625 pages
AU$185.00 NZ$191.30
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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John Ray is considered the outstanding British natural historian of the 17th century. His first publication, A catalogue of plants growing around Cambridge (1660) is famous as the first British County Flora. It is a complex work, not only a botanical catalogue but also has and #x201C;for the benefit of beginners and #x201D; indexes of English names and of places (with lists of the rarer species of 12 areas in the county) together with chapters on the meanings of plant names and of botanical terms (hitherto untranslated). Ray and #x2019;s abilities as an all-round naturalist are apparent from the numerous observations and digressions in the text. This book includes a complete translation from the Latin of the work together with the rare appendices to the Catalogue, published in 1663 and 1685, translated for the first time. The editorial commentary on the text is included in nearly 2000 footnotes which outline problems of translation, discuss the identity of some of Ray and #x2019;s more problematic species, identify his cited and some of his uncited sources and detail the treatment in his later works of some of the plant variants (such as colour forms) that he regarded as species in 1660. The translationis preceded by introductory chapters which use unpublished manuscripts and recently published studies to present a new account of Ray and #x2019;s time in the University of Cambridge and the possible roles of his collaborators.The work and #x2019;s structure and sources are analysed, biographical portraits of the botanists cited by Ray provided together with a discussion of the problems of equating his names to modern taxa. The book ends with a vocabulary of the epithets in Ray and #x2019;s Latin plant names, a gazetteer and a bibliography. As Professor Oliver Rackham comments in his foreword, other editions and commentaries on the and #x2018;Cambridge Catalogue and #x2019; exist and #x201C;but none does justice to its complexity, its discursiveness, its allusiveness, the circumstances of its writing, its vast bibliography or Ray and #x2019;s other works associated with it as appendices or supplements and #x201D;. Ewen and Lewis and #x2019; 1975 translation was limited to the text considered relevant to a and #x2018;modern reader and #x2019; and excluded, for example, the chapters on technical terms and on etymology preventing a full assessment of Ray and #x2019;s work. The authors both live in Cambridge and are Honorary Members of the Botanical Society of the British Isles and graduates of the University of Cambridge. Philip Oswald has a degree in Classics and Theology and Chris Preston a doctorate in Botany, thus combining John Ray and #x2019;s principal interests.

1. Introduction 2. John Ray, once Fellow of Trinity College 3. The Catalogus and its appendices - structure and sources 4. Biographical notes on some authors cited by Ray 5. Ray's cited sources in public and private libraries 6. Identification of Ray's plants 7. Notes on the translation and editorial methods Translations of John Ray's (1660) Catalogus plantarum circa Cantabrigiam nascentium and of the appendices of 1663 and 1685 A Catalogue of Plants growing around Cambridge (1660) Appendix to the Catalogue of Plants Growing around Cambridge (1663) Appendix to the Catalogue of Plants growing around Cambridge, second edition (1685) Gazetteer Vocabulary of epithets used to describe plant species Bibliography