Antique French Books: Medicinae Rationalis Systematicae circa 1738

A handsome early eighteenth century French edition, the five large volumes contain the works of Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742). It was published in 1738, by Francisci Varrentrapp.

Hoffman was (in 1693) appointed the first professor of medicine in the university of Halle. Here he became, as did his contemporary and rival Stahl, a popular and influential teacher. Hoffmann's "system" was apparently intended to reconcile the opposing "spiritual" and "materialistic" views of nature, and is thought to have been much influenced by the philosophy of Leibnitz. His medical theories rest upon a complete theory of the universe.

The attention he focused on the role of the nervous system in physiology and pathogenesis contributed to a gradual shift in medical approach, namely from preoccupation with so-called humors and vascular hydrodynamics to that with neuromuscular action and sensibility. This transformation was reflected in the subsequent medical systems of Cullen and John Brown.

The bindings of this complete set are typical eighteenth century. Fine calf leather with plain cover boards are accented by decorative spines. Five raised hubs along each spine make way for compartments which are filled by an extensive amount of hand-tooled gilt design. (To make these designs, tiny tools were forged for each different design). The title plates are of red Morocco leather, gilt tooled with the tile of the book.

There is a frontispiece portrait of the author (by Rupert) found in volume 1. The frontispiece text is in red and black in Volume number one. All the text is in Latin, and the each Preface (Praefatio) is enhanced with a detailed vignette engraving. There are decorated capitals on the preface as well.

The volumes are large (as is typical of medical books of this period), measuring 8 1/8" x 6 1/2", 2" thick. They are in good condition for their extreme age, there is modest wear to the tops and bottoms of the spines and covers. The pages are attached and the bindings are sound.

They are documented in the reference work of "Bayle et Thillaye" (volume II pg. 102-105). Their is a handwritten ancient ex-libris of "Danielis Guiot" within each volume.

Eighteenth century medical books are a rare find.

Item ID: LC32

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Librairie Clermont


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