21 November 2012
PLATTER, Felix (1536-1614). De corporis humani structura et usu. Basel: Ambrosius Froben, 1583.
2° (281 x 190mm). Engraved portrait of the author on title verso, and 50 full-page engravings in text after Vesalius. (Some occasional soiling, browning and spotting.) Contemporary vellum, manuscript inscription on front cover and spine (lacking ties, some staining, new endpapers). Provenance: Emanuel Ursius (inscription dated 5 December 1595 on title) -- 'Jacques M.' (signature dated 1781 on front cover) -- Basel Public Library (stamp on title) -- Ira M. Rutkow (pencil signature on rear flyleaf).
FIRST EDITION of Platter's first book. A disciple of Eustachi, Falloppio and Vesalius, Platter was one of the foremost pathologists of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, occupying a place midway between Fernel (1497-1558) and Bonet (1620-89). He was chief physician of Basel from 1571 until his death. Platter was probably the first to practice anatomic pathology, noting during post-mortem examinations that certain illnesses appeared to be caused by anatomic abnormalities. He was ahead of his time in including exact dates in his case histories, and would often include the name, sex and occupation of his patients. Platter was also one of the earliest to study mental illnesses scientifically, seeking their origins in physiological rather than supernatural causes. Choulant-Frank 216.; See Garrison-Morton 3789, 4297.9, 4511.1; Heirs of Hippocrates 372; NLM/Durling 3683; Waller 7504; Wellcome 5084.
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