On the Fabric of the Human Body: The Bones and Cartilages

Overview

Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica libri septem, first published in 1543 is, along with William Harvey's classic work from 1628 on the discovery of the circulation of the blood, one of the two most famous books in the history of medicine. A cornerstone of the scientific revolution, published the same year as Copernicus's monumental treatise on the heliocentric universe, De humani corporis fabrica inaugurated the modern study of anatomy, leading to the eventual overturn of the Galenic system that had dominated ...
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Overview

Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica libri septem, first published in 1543 is, along with William Harvey's classic work from 1628 on the discovery of the circulation of the blood, one of the two most famous books in the history of medicine. A cornerstone of the scientific revolution, published the same year as Copernicus's monumental treatise on the heliocentric universe, De humani corporis fabrica inaugurated the modern study of anatomy, leading to the eventual overturn of the Galenic system that had dominated medical science for fourteen centuries.

Illustrated with woodcuts by artists in the school of Titian that have for centuries remained standard icons of medical literature, Vesalius's work is also a classic of sixteenth-century graphic art. When it was originally published in the mid-sixteenth century its Latin text guaranteed its accessibility to an international medical and scientific audience, all of whom had been educated to read and write Latin. Of course, fewer and fewer physicians and scientists read Latin today, and even professional classicists have reported considerable difficulty in interpreting Vesalius's technical Renaissance medical Latin. Although many editions, revisions, adaptations, and facsimiles of this work appeared over the centuries, remarkably it was never before now translated, except for fragments, into a modern language other than Russian (Moscow, 1950-1954). The Richardson and Carman translation supplies a modern, accessible version of this monumental work for the first time. Dr. Richardson and Professor Carman bring a lifetime of experience to the task of translating and presenting Vesalius's painstaking account of the fabric of the human body, having devoted many years to scholarly study of the Latin language (Dr. Richardson) and detailed human anatomy (Professor Carman).

Book I: The Bones and Cartilages, the first of the seven books in which Vesalius' encyclopedic work is divided, comprises approximately one- quarter, or 100,000 words, of the roughly 400,000 words that make up the entire Fabrica. The seventy-three illustrations in Book I and the historiated initial letters have been reproduced from the facsimile of the 1543 edition. The whole of Vesalius's text of Book I has been translated, including his marginal notes. The work begins with Vesalius's own Preface, the Publisher's Note to the Reader, and Vesalius's Letter to Johannes Oporinus, the printer and publisher of the original edition. At the end of each of the forty chapters in Book I there are detailed translator's notes explaining subtleties in the translation. There are also indexes to the text, to people and places, to words from languages other than English, and to the translator's notes. Informative and interpretive prefaces by the translators provide details about the history, anatomy, and translation process of the work.

Book I: The Bones and Cartilages, which stands on its own as a major contribution to the history of medicine and of world culture, is the first installment of a forthcoming complete translation of Vesalius's Fabrica. Vesalius began his encyclopedia of anatomy with osteology because he rightly considered bones to be the foundation and framework supporting the human body. Book I: The Bones and Cartilages is unquestionably the first modern encyclopedic study of osteology.

Andreas Vesalius On the Fabric of the Human Body A Translation of De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem Book I: The Bones and Cartilages, the first of the seven books in which Vesalius's encyclopedic work is divided, comprises approximately one-quarter, or 100,000 words, of the roughly 400,000 words that make up the entire Fabrica. The seventy-three illustrations in Book I and the historiated initial letters have been reproduced from the facsimile of the 1543 edition. The whole of Vesalius's text of Book I has been translated, including his marginal notes. The work begins with Vesalius's own Preface, the Publisher's Note to the Reader, and Vesalius's Letter to Johannes Oporinus, the printer and publisher of the original edition. At the end of each of the forty chapters in Book I there are detailed translator's notes explaining subtleties in the translation. There are also indexes to the text, to people and places, to words from languages other than English, and to the translator's notes. Informative and interpretive prefaces by the translators provide details about the history, anatomy, and translation process of the work. Book I: The Bones and Cartilages, which stands on its own as a major contribution to the history of medicine and of world culture, is the first installment of a forthcoming complete translation of Vesalius's Fabrica.

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Editorial Reviews

Archives of Surgery
[This work] is a unique offering from the history of medicine gods and should be in the personal library of any aficionado of the subject.
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
...an awesome feat... a brilliant piece of translation and scholarship....
Journal of the Society of Medicine
Dr. Richardson and Professor Carman are to be congratulated on their achievement in providing an accessible translation of what Osler described as 'a monumental human effort, one of the greatest in the history of our profession.
Nature
...one of the publishing and scientific literary achievements of the decade...
New England Journal of Medicine
This translation is a scholarly achievement. It is a reference book that should be available to gross anatomists and medical historians.
Times Literary Supplement
...Book One, The Bones and Cartilages.[is an] elegant and accurate English version [of De humani corporis fabrica libri septem]. The beautiful typography...matches the quality of the translation and the plates...What [Vesalius] wrote can now be more easily understood, thanks to this fine translation, and scholars will long remain indebted to its authors, and to its publishers, for their labours. Times Literary Supplement (August 13, 1999)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780930405731
  • Publisher: Norman Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Series: Norman Anatomy Ser.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416

Table of Contents

Historical Preface   Translator's Preface   
Anatomist's Preface   
Notes to the Reader   
Author's Preface   
Publisher's Note to the Reader   
Letter to Johannes Oporinus   
Chapter I The Nature and the Function of the Bone; The Classification of Bones   
Chapter II Cartilage: Its Nature, Function and Classification   
Chapter III The Names of Various Parts and Areas of Bones   
Chapter IV The Mutual Interconnection and Juncture of Bones   
Chapter V Why the Head is So Shaped; The Number of Different Shapes   
Chapter VI The Eight Bones of the Head and the Sutures That Join Them   
Chapter VII The Zygoma; And the Bones Resembling a Rocky Outcrop   
Chapter VIII The Ossicles That Form Part of the Structure of the Organ of Hearing   
Chapter IX The Twelve Bones of the Upper Jaw, Including the Nasal Bones   
Chapter X The Lower Jaw   
Chapter XI The Teeth, Which are Included among the Bones   
Chapter XII The Foramina in the Bones of the Head and Upper Jaw   
Chapter XIII The Hyoid Bone   
Chapter XIV The Spinal Column, and Some General Remarks about the Bones That Compose It   
Chapter XV The Cervical Vertebrae   
Chapter XVI The Thoracic Vertebrae   
Chapter XVII The Lumbar Vertebrae   
Chapter XVIII Sacrum and Coccyx   
Chapter XIX The Bones of the Thorax   
Chapter XX The Cartilaginous Substance Supposed to Exist in the Base of the Heart, Otherwise Known as the Heart Bone   
Chapter XXI The Scapula   
Chapter XXII The Clavicles   
Chapter XXIII The Bone of the Upper Arm, or Humerus   
Chapter XXIV The Ulna and Radius   
Chapter XXV The Carpus   
Chapter XXVI The Bones of the Metacarpus   
Chapter XXVII The Fingers   
Chapter XXVIII Sesamoid Bones   297
Chapter XXIX The Bones Joined to the Other Side of the Sacrum   
Chapter XXX The Femur   
Chapter XXXI Tibia and Fibula   
Chapter XXXII The Patella   
Chapter XXXIII The Bones of the Foot   
Chapter XXXIV The Nails   
Chapter XXXV The Cartilages of the Eyelids   
Chapter XXXVI The Cartilage of the Ear   
Chapter XXXVII The Cartilages of the Nose   
Chapter XXXVIII The Cartilages of the Rough Artery; The Parts within It Known to the Greeks as the Glottis and Epiglottis   
Chapter XXXIX How the Bones and Cartilages of the Human Body are Prepared for Study   
Chapter XL The Number of the Bones   
Index to Text   
Index to People and Places   
Index to Words from Other Languages   
Index to Translator's Notes   
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