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15 - 16 June 1998
LOWER, Richard (1631-1691). Tractatus de corde. Item de motu & colore sanguinis et chyli in eum transitu. London: John Redmayne for James Allestry, 1669.
8o (163 x 105 mm). Collation: A-Q8. 128 leaves. Seven folding engraved plates, ornamental woodcut initials and typographical headpieces. (A6 slit for cancellation and discreetly repaired without loss of text, plates 5-6 cropped touching image, a few mostly marginal stains.) Modern brown morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe; modern cloth folding box.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of "the most important contribution to circulatory physiology after William Harvey's De motu cordis" (Grolier Medicine). Lower was a London physician who had studied at Oxford, where he knew Thomas Willis, Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. Tractatus de corde reports his observations on the scroll-like structure of the cardiac muscle, the velocity of blood flow and its quantity, as well as the effects of aeration on the blood as it passes through the lungs. Lower also described a blood transfusion between dogs, thus demonstrating the safety of a method that was later to revolutionize surgery.
Tractatus de corde exists in two issues, the first with the original leaf A6 containing the catchword "Im-", the second with a cancel leaf containing the catchword "quic-". According to Fulton, the reason for the change was "to modify (very slightly) a scurrilous remark that [Lower] had originally made concerning the Irishman O'Meara" (Fulton, p. 17). The present copy contains the original leaf A6 describing Edmund O'Meara [or Meara], who had attacked Lower's friend Thomas Willis (see lots 866-70), as "outstanding for his exceptional stupidity and impudence". VERY RARE.
John F. Fulton, The Oxford Physiologists: Richard Lower 1631-1691; John Mayow 1643-1679 (Oxford 1935) 4; Garrison-Morton 761; Grolier Medicine 34; NLM/Krivatsy 7157; PMM 149; Waller 6046; Wellcome III, p. 552; Wing L-3310; Norman 1397.
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