PARÉ, Ambroise [with] DUFOUR, Gerald [with] SABATIER, Jean-Pierre

PARÉ, Ambroise [with] DUFOUR, Gerald [with] SABATIER, Jean-Pierre (1) Cinq livres de chirurgie (2) Dissertatio de Febribus in genere (3) Tentamen medicum de variis calculorum biliarum speciebus, diversoque ab ipsis pendentium morborum genere

(1) Paris, chez André Wechel, 1572; (2) Montpellier, Apud Franciscum Rochard, Universitatis Typographum unicum, 1729; (3) Montpellier, Jean Martel, 1758


FIRST EDITION. 3 works in one volume. 8vo., pp. [xii] 470 [ii]. ã8,e4, a-z8, A-F8, G4. pp. (vi) 44. pp. (vi) 100. Roman letter, Italic side-notes. Title within charming woodcut border, grotesque woodcut initials and headpieces, portrait of the author within roundel on verso of t-p, 41 fine woodcuts of medical operations and instruments, anatomy etc., “Le quatre mai mille sept cens soixante huit” mss at head of title, C. Bergouhnioux ink stamp on a few leaves, ‘Ex. Steedman – BGA 1948’ in pencil on verso of fly. Title page and verso of last dusty, very light waterstain at head of first leaves, the odd marginal stain or spot. A very good, clean copy, with good margins in early C19th vellum over boards for C. Bergouhnioux, (gilt stamped at base of spine) spine gilt ruled in compartments, fleurons gilt at centres, tan morocco label gilt, a little soiled.

Very rare and important first edition of Ambroise Paré’s greatest work, illustrated with a woodcut portrait of Paré at the age of 55 and 41 woodcuts depicting surgical operations and instruments. ”The Cinq livres contains all new material. It had been called by several serious writers Paré’s chef d’oeuvre. In it appears the first description of the fracture of the head and of the femur. Secondly, it is the first appearance of the whole teaching of bandages, fractures, and dislocations which has come down to us from the ancients, broadened by Paré’s own experience. It is undoubtedly one of his most important works” (Doe 19). This eminently practical work is very rare, even more so in good condition, as copies were undoubtedly much used in the field as a practical guides. “Paré’s original books, all very rare today, were handy volumes, small enough for the field surgeon’s knapsack” Hagelin. “During the 1537 siege of Turin, a young French barber-surgeon abandoned the conventional wisdom about the treatment of bullet wounds, giving rise to a revolution in surgical techniques and pedagogy. Ambroise Paré .. set the stage for the modern melding of scientific medicine and the invasive procedures that define surgery at the turn of the 21st century. The dogmatic quality of Galenism meant that physicians until the Renaissance – and in many ways until the 19th century – did not practice a medicine based on practical observation, experience, and empirical analysis. The treatments proscribed by Galen and the earlier Hippocratic writings were first comprehensively challenged by Paré and the anatomical writings of Paré’s contemporary, Andreas Vesalius. … Paré made his break from the traditional practices in 1537 when he ran out of the boiling oil solution conventionally used to “detoxify” and cauterize wounds caused by gunpowder-driven projectiles. He replaced this harsh treatment with a soothing balm made from egg yolks, rose oil, and turpentine. The next morning, he was astonished to find the recipients of his new treatment were resting easily while those who suffered the cauterizing oil were “feverish” and afflicted with “great pain and swelling about the edges of their wounds”. Seeing the dramatic difference between the “proper” and improvised treatments, Paré resolved to only treat cases with procedures he had personally observed to be useful. This resulted in such innovations as the use of ligatures in amputations, treatments for sucking chest wounds, and a cure for chronic ulcers of the skin. Although this experimentally driven medicine did not come to define the physician’s practice until the rise of the Paris Clinic in the 19th century, these first writings established an important foundation of empiricism in European medicine. … By writing in his native language, Paré was able to produce a series of volumes renowned for their clarity of form and easily accessible to his fellow barber-surgeons. His reliance upon the experiences of a long and notable career (he was often away at wars, attending high officials and, later, kings) gave his arguments heft .. [His] publications went beyond the descriptions of procedures and his books included illustrations of the instruments he employed, another groundbreaking innovation for surgical texts. .. Ambroise Paré’s numerous technical innovations and literary contributions to the art of surgery were deeply felt in the continued development of surgery following the 16th century. .. His emphasis on techniques that minimized the damage done to the tissues of the patient has guided the development of the gentle art of surgery in the many centuries since his writings first appeared. Although his writings and techniques appeared during a time in which surgery was a separate realm from medicine proper, physicians and surgeons can now look to Paré as the founder of modern surgery, a restorative process that heals the body with minimal suffering.” Drucker. ‘Ambroise Paré and the Birth of the Gentle Art of Surgery.’

The work was bound with two very interesting C18th medical theses both printed at the University press at Montpellier, the world’s oldest medical school still in operation, by C. Bergouhnioux, a surgeon and author of medical works.

USTC 29581 Janet Doe, ‘Bibliography of the works of Ambroise Paré’. no. 19. Brunet IV 366. not in Adams, Eimas, Durling, Norman, Wellcome, or Mortimer Harvard. Copac records just one copy, at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
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