New York, Park Avenue
29 October 1998
PARKINSON, James (1755-1824). An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. London: Whittingham and Rowland for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1817.
8o (219 x 138 mm). (First 4 leaves and last leaf rehinged and with repaired tear entering text, other small marginal repairs to title-leaf.) Later 19th-century half vellum gilt, preserving earlier red morocco lettering-piece, untrimmed (endpapers renewed); vellum slipcase and half vellum chemise. Provenance: apparently from the library of Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893), founder of modern neurology, whose achievements included the differentiation of the effects of Parkinson's disease--a term he was the first to use--from patchy sclerosis (typographic bookplate with ink shelfmark, on new front endpaper); Thomas Windsor (1888 inscription on title-page).
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE GREATEST RARITIES OF 19TH-CENTURY MEDICAL LITERATURE and Parkinson's most important medical work, in which he identifed as a single clinical entity the disease, paralysis agitans, that now bears his name. "Symptoms that had been assumed to be characteristic of distinct illnesses, such as tremulous agitans and the violent propensity to run, were shown to part of a single ailment. A study of several cases and a sorting-out of the symptoms comprises most of the work. Parkinson made no decision concerning the cause but suggested that it arose from 'a disordered state of that part of the medulla which is contained in the cervical vertebrae'. The illness described by Parkinson... is understood today as one form of several clinical events" (DSB). His achievement was "all the more remarkable in that he reached his conclusions solely by inference from external symptoms... he could suggest no cure" (Norman). Garrison-Morton 4690; Norman 1642.
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