CROOKE, Helkiah. [READ, Alexander.]

CROOKE, Helkiah. [READ, Alexander.] A description of the body of man. With the practise of chirurgery,..

[London], Printed by Tho. Cotes, 1634


8vo. two works in one. 8vo. ff. [v], 15, 17-154; pp. [vi], 117, [i]. A , B-2E , without initial blank. “‘An explanation of the fashion and vse of three and fifty instruments of chirurgery’, a translation from Ambroise Paré by Helkiah Crooke, has separate dated title page and pagination; register is continuous.” ESTC. Roman letter some Italic. Woodcut of two skeletons on title, repeated in text, woodcut initials and headpieces, innumerable woodcuts in text, mostly full page, pastedowns using waste from a printed sheet of a Black letter miniature book ‘Short grounds of Catechisme’, C18th letterpress booklabel of William Ralphs on fly. Light age yellowing, the odd thumb mark, rare marginal mark, small tear on I4 from clumsy cutting of sheet, the text is present attached in upper margin of I3. A good unsophisticated copy, generally crisp and clean, in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine double blind ruled in compartments, a.e.r, spine cracked with loss at head, hole in lower compartments, lower edge of lower cover worn, corners worn. In folding box. The pastedowns use waste from a printed sheet from a miniature book, ‘Short grounds of Catechisme’, possibly by William Ward. This might well be the unique surviving fragment as we have been unable to find any such work in ESTC.

Second edition by Jaggard of Crooke’s medical text, first printed in 1616, extracted by the Scottish physician Alexander Reid from Crooke’s longer Microcosmographia of 1615 which ran to over a thousand pages. This smaller, profusely illustrated, edition was designed to be cheaper and quicker to read, according to Reid’s preface, and references to the longer descriptions in the larger work are given on most of the pages. Crooke (1576-1648) based his work on those of Bauhin and Du Laurens, which were in their turn based on Vesalius, and there is similarity in the illustrations. Its publication was controversial as it was written in English and both the Royal College of Physicians and the bishop of London felt it was highly inappropriate to describe reproductive organs in the vernacular.

“In 1616, the year of Jaggard’s second issue of the first edition of Crooke’s book, the printer commissioned a companion volume, a smaller octavo-sized epitome that was intended to broaden the audience of the anatomy treatise. This volume was titled Somatographia Anthropine and authored by Alexander Read, a Scottish surgeon living in London who would later become educated as a physician as well. Read wrote a brief preface explaining that this smaller book is intended to supplement or complement the larger. On the verso of each leaf is an illustration from Mikrokosmographia, apparently made from the same woodblocks as were used in printing the larger book. At least one bibliographer has conjectured that this may have been motivation for Jaggard to print this smaller version, that he would gain additional financial return on the undoubtedly steep investment of the woodblocks (Willoughby 114). On the recto of the next leaf facing that illustration is the indexed description of the various elements of the body part pictured. Each set of pages is accordingly indexed to the larger volume and includes a line of type directing the reader to the relevant portion of Mikrokosmographia that will discuss the subject at greater length and in more detail. Apparently Somatographia Anthropine had two target markets, one wealthier than the other. For the barber-surgeons too poor to own a copy of Mikrokosmographia, the epitome made it possible for them to purchase a version of the book. For those wealthy enough to own a copy of both, the smaller version served as a handy portable copy of the hefty tome. This seems to have been particularly relevant in the setting of the anatomy theater. The viewers’ proximity to the body being dissected was determined by standing in the Barber-Surgeons’ Company, so that the poorer, younger members of the audience were relegated to the furthest stands. While they likely would have had difficulty viewing the proceedings and had no chance whatsoever to benefit from the folio copy of Mikrokosmographia on the lectern, with a handy pocket-sized anatomy text they could follow along with ease (Cregan 53-54). The success of this model can be presumed from its own second edition, also taken on by Coates, printed in 1634 to accompany the larger later edition.” Jillian Linster. ‘When “Nothing” Goes Missing: The Impotent Censorship of Helkiah Crooke’s Mikrokosmographia’.

ESTC S115689. STC 20783; Doe, Paré 75. Krivatsy 2931. Wellcome I, 1688. Not in Osler, Garrison and Morton or Heirs of Hippocrates.

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