TAGAULT, Jean De chirurgica institutione librie quinque

Lyon, apud Guliel Rouillium sub scuto Veneto, 1567


8vo. pp. [xvi] 488 [xlviii]. Roman and Italic letter, woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, printed side-notes, woodcut printer’s device on t.p. of eagle and snakes, full-page woodcuts on pp 165-6 of wounded human figures and surgery, half and full page woodcuts throughout of surgical tools, three diagrams of the human skeleton pp 406-410. Light age yellowing, upper margin trimmed without loss. A good a clean copy in C17th vellum over boards, initials “P B A C” stamped in black on upper and ‘1665’ on lower cover, remains of green ties, a.e.r.

Attractive edition of a popular surgical text, drawn from the writings of Guy de Chauliac (1300-1368) that “treats of the nature and cure of wounds, tumors, hernias, ulcers, fractures and dislocations. A sixth book by Jacques Houllier describes the tools of surgery. Several interesting woodcuts appear to be reduced copies of plates from Vesalius’ Tabulae anatomicae sex [1538]” (Heirs of Hippocrates cit. inf.). A product of its time, Tagault’s surgical guide does not draw upon medical experience as a source for new information so much as confirm what Galen and the ancients had written. Using public dissection to teach surgery was a controversial practice, formally instituted in 1483 at Paris’ conservative medical school where Tagault taught, behind its rivals Montpellier which had allowed public dissections as early as 1377, and Bologna in 1300. Nevertheless Tagault played an important role in forcing the medical profession outside of the shadow of received knowledge. In November 1534 he was made dean of the medical faculty at Paris – when a young Vesalius was studying there – and was among the few teachers who performed dissections of human cadavers and offered their students the same rare opportunity (O’Malley cit. infr.). An interesting work anticipating the age of medical progress Vesalius’s anatomical illustrations would make possible.

Baudrier IX 314. Wellcome 6207. Durling 4302. Heirs of Hippocrates 109 (earlier edition). Ossler 643 and Garrison and Morton 5562 cite earlier anthologies containing the work, compiled by Gesner. O'Malley, C.D. Andreas Vesalius of Brussels 1514-1564, pp 47, 59.
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