FERRAND, Jacques

FERRAND, Jacques Erotomania or a Treatise Discoursing of the Essence, Causes, Symptomes, Prognosticks, and Cure of Love or Erotique Melancholy

Oxford, Printed by L. Lichfield, 1640


First edition thus. 8vo. pp. [xl], 363, [v]. a-b , c , A-Z . [Z7 & 8 blank]. Roman and Italic letter, some Greek. Title in red and black within box ruled border with typographical ornaments, woodcut initials, typographical ornaments. Light age yellowing, small paper flaws in upper blank margin of two leaves in first quire, the occasional, mostly marginal spot or stain. A very good copy crisp and clean in modern calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, blind fleurons at corners, spine double blind ruled in compartments, printed waste pastedowns from an early English printed Latin dictionary, all edges blue.

Important and influential first edition in English of this rare work on lovesickness, which gives us tremendous insight into contemporary attitudes to love, anxiety, depression, and their treatment. “The original French edition was published at Toulouse in 1612, under the title Traité de l’essence et guérison de l’amour, and at Paris in 1623 as ‘De la maladie d’amour, ou melancholie erotique.’ If Robert Burton was acquainted with the first edition of this book, as he may well have been, there can be little doubt that he has taken or imitated the general method and treatment of the subject, in his Anatomy of Melancholy”. Madan. Burton certainly owned a copy of the Paris 1623 edition (N.K. Kiessling, The Library of Robert Burton, Oxford, 1988, no. 566). The translation is by Edmund Chilmead, scholar, musician, petty canon of Christ Church, and cataloguer of Greek manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (Wood, Athenae Oxoniensis, III, 350).

Jacques Ferrand, who was deeply imbued with the humanist culture of the Renaissance, refers in his work to a long tradition of thinkers and doctors: Paul of Aegina, Avicenna, Arnauld de Vilanova, Ficino and Bernard of Gordon. However the contemporary author he owes the most to was André Du Laurens whose work on love was also translated into English. Both authors believed lovesickness to be a physical disease. “Despite feeling that love is ultimately subjective, and thus, definition is futile, Ferrand eventually settles on this; ‘Love .. is a kind of Dotage, proceeding from an irregular desire of enjoying a lovely object; and is attended on by feare and sadnesse.’ Following a thousand-year medical tradition, Ferrand seriously believed love to be a physical disease.” Matthew Dimmock ‘Literature and Popular Culture in Early Modern England.’ “Ferrand’s ‘De la maladie d’amour’ the most detailed work on the subject, gives therapeutic, dietary and medicinal advice both on how to prevent the disease and how best to treat it once it has been contracted. Galenic medicine tended to work by contraries; because lovesickness was often seen as a form of melancholy, which was a disease of excessive dryness and heat, remedies for lovesickness tended to stress moisture and coolness. Baths were recommended and calming music. Because insomnia was a common symptom of lovesickness, opium was often prescribed, as it would induce sleep. .. Ferrand goes so far as to suggest clitoridectomy and cauterisation of the forehead with a branding iron in severe cases.” Sujata Iyengar ‘Disability, Health, and Happiness in the Shakespearean Body.’ Ferrand work also discusses aphrodisiacs and foods to particularly avoid to prevent from succumbing to erotic melancholy. “(His work) thus cautioned that certain foods were liable to stimulate lust and love melancholy. ‘our patient must abstaine also from all meats that are very Nutritive, Hot, Flatulent and Melancholy’ such as soft eggs, partridges, pigeons, sparrows, quails, hare and especially green geese.” Jennifer Evans ‘Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England.’ Ferrand’s first edition, was criticised by the inquisition which lead to revisions in the second, particularly over his following the long standing medical leniency toward sex as therapy. Thus in his second edition Ferrand retracted his recommendation of sex as therapy for lovesickness.

A very good copy of this rare first English translation.

ESTC. S102065. STC 10829 Madan, I, p. 219. Not in Gay, Edelmann or Hull.
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