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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Figuier title2     Figuier fig.68

Louis Figuier,
La terre avant le deluge
Donated by Martin Rudwick. STORE 222:23

This is the 6th edition of Louis Figuier’s (1819-1894) hugely successful work The earth before the deluge, first published in 1863. Richly illustrated, the volume contains some 300 engravings of fossils as well as a series of scenes by the landscape painter Edouard Riou depicting the deep history of the earth. These scenes begin with the earth before the appearance of life and move through the emergence of marine organisms, plants, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals and eventually humans. One scene even includes Buckland’s hyena cave. Figuier in fact includes two “deluge” events, one pre-human and the other within human history, but neither have a global reach. These scenes chronicled the deep history of the earth in greater detail than ever before, reinforcing its vast timescale. The appearance of humans is presented as the culmination of this history, a common theme of 19th century thought.

Figuier fig.159b

Figuier fig.322     Figuier fig.324b