FABRY, Wilhelm (Fabricius Hildanus).

Observationum & Curationum Chirurgicarum Centuriae, nunc primum simul in unum opus congesta…

Lugduni [Lyons]: Sumptibus Joan. Antonii Huguetan…1641

2 volumes in 1, 4to, pp. (xlviii), 568, (40); (xxxvi), 436, (34). Fine engraved portrait on verso of half-title, first title-page printed in red and black, both title-pages with engraved allegorical vignette, numerous woodcuts in the text. 18th-century mottled calf (upper joint cracked, lower joint just cracking at foot, small hole at top of lower joint), spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label, red edges, marbled endpapers. Some minor foxing, but a nice copy. Early signature of Dr. F. Canet on titles; bookplate of Richard J. Bennett.

FIRST COLLECTED EDITION of the most important work of Wilhelm Fabry (1560–1624), sometimes called ‘the father of German surgery’, although he was actually Swiss by birth. It constitutes the best collection of surgical case records of the seventeenth century, and of the most varied character, illustrated with many fine and curious woodcuts. Fabry’s chief influence on surgery was through his correspondence with German physicians and surgeons, and for his urging surgeons to study anatomy. He was assisted in his work by his wife, an esteemed surgeon in her own right, who is credited with suggesting to use of a magnet to make the first extraction of an iron splinter from the eye. A good review of Fabry’s surgical work is Ellis Jones, “The life and works of Guilhelmus Fabricius Hildanus (1560–1634)” in Med Hist. 1960 Jul. 4(3): 196–209, who discusses Fabry’s work under the headings general surgery including hernia and cancer, obstetrics and gynaecology, oto-rhino-laryngology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, neurosurgery and genito-urinary surgery. See G&M 5570; this is in effect the first available edition, as Fabry’s six(?) Centuriae were published in different places over 35 years and are extremely rare — for instance, the Wellcome catalogue shows only two of them, Krivatsy four, and VD17 three. The present volume contains five Centuriae, but the sixth one is a mystery; according to Hirsch it was published in London in 1641, but no book by Fabry was published in London with this title or date; Jones gives it as Lyons, 1641, the date and place of the present volume.


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