COOKE, James.

COOKE, James. Mellificium chirurgiæ. Or The marrow of many good authours. Wherein is briefly and faithfully handled the art of chyrurgery.

London, for Samuel Cartwright, 1648


FIRST EDITION 12mo. pp. [xxiv], 478 [ii] last blank, imprimatur on the verso of [A1]. Roman letter, some Italic. Text within box rule, woodcut initials, typographical ornaments, C18 autograph ‘Isaac Webster, Hull’ on pastedown, ‘Isaac Raines 1802’ at head of title page, ‘H. Page from his old friend G. J Twycross-Raine, Sept 11 1911’ on fly. A very good copy, crisp and clean in contemporary sheep, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine double ruled in compartments, splits to joints at head, a little rubbed.

An excellent copy of the rare first edition of this popular and pioneering medical work by the surgeon James Cooke based on his lengthy experience on the side of parliament during the Civil war. Cooke observed, experimented and used post-mortems to refine his treatments. His recommendations for treating gunshot wounds included mixing turpentine with egg yolks and rose oil, as with Ambroise Paré.

“James Cooke (d. 1693-4) was surgeon to Robert Greville, Lord Brooke, during the First Civil War (prior to Brooke’s death in 1643) and of other notables in Warwick during and after the Civil Wars. Cooke published several texts, ‘Mellficium chirurgiae, ..wherein is handled the Art of Chirurgery’ in 1648, .. and ‘Select observations on English bodies’ in 1657. The Marrow of Chirurgery was reprinted six times until 1717, showing the longevity of his works. Cooke’s Select observations on English Bodies was based on the papers of the late Dr John Hall, purchased from Hall’s widow (William Shakespeare’s daughter Susannah) sometime between Hall’s death in 1639 and her own in 1649. This extensive collection of medical records is likely to have impacted on Cooke’s own knowledge base and informed his own medical practice. .. [his] book, The Marrow of Chirurgery, contains an extensive, detailed and accurate section on human anatomy … Quite apart from the common folk myth of the surgeon hacking off a limb with casual abandon, Cooke describes meticulous preparations for the operation (of amputation), which include bolstering the patient’s ability to recover from the operation by providing high calorie diet (including egg yolks and sweet wine) and purgatives before operation.Care is also taken to ensure a sterile operation site, with a requirement for a large bowl of ashes (a source of alkali such as lye, or sodium/potassium hydroxide), water and vinegar to clean the wounded area before and after, and bladders to cover the stump to keep it clean after the operation. Every precaution is also made to ensure that the operation is rapid and there are no unnecessary hiatuses in the procedure. Two bone saws are recommended (a spare therefore being immediately to hand in case of breakage), three needles (ideally ones which had not yet been used for any other purpose, and therefore sharp), several bandages of various kinds, and cloth buttons of various sizes that could be used to plug the ends of blood vessels.” Dr Stephen M. Rutherford. ‘Ground-breaking pioneers or dangerous amateurs.’

A very good copy of the rare first edition.

Wing C6012. ESTC R12520. Krivatsy 2706. Wellcome II, p.386. Not in Heirs of Hippocrates.