A Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation, and Gun-Shot Wounds. To which is prefixed, a short account of the author’s life, by his brother-in-law, Everard Home.

London: Printed by John Richardson, for George Nicol,…1794

4to, pp. lxvii, 575, engraved frontispiece portrait after Sir Joshua Reynolds, and 9 plates. Some spotting in gatherings R and S (as usual), title slightly browned, minor creases in upper corner of first few leaves. Bound in the 19th century in half calf for Holland House (joints and ends of spine neatly repaired), spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label, marbled sides, edges and endpapers. Armorial bookplate of Holland House on front pastedown, also cut bookseller’s slip for this copy; inscription (slightly erased) at top of title from Holland to Dr. Aglietti.

FIRST EDITION. John Hunter, one of the greatest surgeons of all time, collected the material for this “epoch-making book” (G&M) while serving with the army at Belle Isle during the Seven Years’ War. Published posthumously, it is easily the largest work by a British surgeon to date. His studies on inflammation in particular are fundamental for pathology, as there was little understanding of the subject before his time. He classified inflammation into three types, and was the first to assess and describe three essential factors of wound pathology: first, that an external agent in the air, and not the air itself, is a factor in wound inflammation; second, that a good blood supply is essential in maintaining the natural defences of the body; and third, that the presence of mortified tissue in a deep wound prevents healing and promotes the onset of sepsis. He was outstanding in importance to orthopaedic surgery among eighteenth century surgeons, and made epoch-making studies of the surgical diseases of the vascular system. He was acknowledged by Virchow as the founder of experimental and surgical pathology, and his collection of pathological specimens was at one time the finest in the world. G&M 2283. Grolier One Hundred (Medicine), 52. Lilly, Classical Works, 112. Willius & Keys, Cardiac Classics, pp. 263–275, reproducing Hunter’s description of his own fatal illness, angina pectoris. Bick, Classics of Orthopaedics, 4. Long, History of Pathology, pp. 148–153. LeFanu, John Hunter, A List, p. 15.


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