(London: Printed [by T. Vigurs, Penzance] for T. and G. Underwood, 1821). 218 x 131 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/4"). , xl [2 errata], 437, [1 ads] pp.Translated by John Forbes, M.D. FIRST EDITION. ONE OF 500 COPIES (according to Norman).
Contemporary half calf over marbled boards, smooth spine divided into panels by gilt rules, gilt titling, marbled edges. Eight engraved plates, the last depicting a stethoscope, by J. P. Vibert. Front pastedown with bookplate of Richard Long, M.D. Title page with ink inscription "R. Long to LA (?) Long." Garrison-Morton 2673; Norman 1256. Front joint with two-inch crack at head, other minor external defects, but the binding still sound. Occasional foxing or offsetting of no great significance in the text bed, final four gatherings and plates mildly browned, one plate with short marginal tear, two others with tiny wormtrail at gutter, but a very good complete copy with no major defects of a work difficult to find in agreeable condition.
According to Garrison-Morton, "this book revolutionized the study of diseases of the chest," and introduced the stethoscope as a diagnostic tool. French physician René Laënnec (1781-1826) invented the stethoscope--originally a roll of stiff paper--in 1816, when confronted with the need to listen to the heartbeat of a voluptuous young woman, but reluctant to put his ear directly on her chest. (Professionalism triumphs over even French joie de vivre!) It turned out this primitive instrument allowed him to hear heart sounds more clearly than he could with bodily tangency, and he set about creating a more permanent version of the tool. This resulted in the wooden tube pictured in plate VIII of the present volume (and offered for sale by the publisher). Already a respected physician when he developed and wrote about the stethoscope, Laënnec achieved international renown after this work appeared. He was appointed chair and professor of medicine at the College of France in 1822, and a full member of the French Academy of Medicine in 1823. He died of tuberculosis a few years later, the victim of a disease his invention had made it easier to diagnose. After receiving his medical degree at Edinburgh in 1817, our translator John Forbes (1787-1861) accepted a position in Penzance, Cornwall, where a number of his patients were miners suffering from lung complaints. Receiving the 1819 French first edition of this book and a stethoscope from a friend who had travelled to Paris, Forbes found them most useful for observing pulmonary symptoms. He produced this translation, which Norman says played a major role in popularizing the use of the stethoscope. (ST15444)
Add to Cart Price: $3,500.00
PJP Catalog: 76.220