6 December 2004
VIRCHOW, Rudolf (1821-1902). Die Cellularpathologie in ihrer Begründung auf physiologische und pathologische Gewebelehre. Berlin: August Hirschwald, 1858.
8o (208 x 129 mm). Half-title, title-leaf with copyright on verso, 144 wood engravings in the text, of which one full-page and several white-on-black. 28-page publisher's catalogue at end. (Stain in upper corner of 15/7-8, some foxing.) Modern blue quarter morocco.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FOUNDATION WORK OF CELLULAR PATHOLOGY AND "ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS IN THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE" (Garrison-Morton). In this work, an almost verbatim transcription of a series of 20 lectures delivered at the new Pathological Institute in Berlin in February-April 1858, Virchow set forth the now universally accepted concept of disease as a state of conflict between healthy and diseased cells. Virchow's research into the function, structure and development of cells was made possible by technical improvements in the microscope and in biochemical techniques. "For Virchow the microscope became the central tool for reducing pathological processes to alterations occurring at the cellular level. Hence, the cell became the fundamental living unit in both health and disease--a biological rather than a mechanical entity. Virchow's notion of cellular pathology implied that all the manifestations of disease could be reduced to disturbances of living cells. Moreover, according to Virchow's famous principle, 'omnis cellula e cellula,' all cells originated from other cells. Cellular function, in turn, depended on intracellular physiochemical changes which were reflected in the varying morphology" (DSB). "Every morbid structure therefore consists of cells, which, according to this axiom themselves come from pre-existing cells. The seat of any disease must therefore be in the cell. On this basis, Virchow analysed disease and diseased tissue and proposed the idea that disease is a conflict between healthy and morbid cells. This was the beginning of modern pathology..." (Grolier Medicine). Dibner, Heralds of Science 132; Garrison-Morton 2299; Grolier/Horblit 99; Grolier Medicine 69; Heirs of Hippocrates 1892; Norman 2156; Osler 1624; PMM 307c; Waller 9996.
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