Venetiis: Thomam Bettinelli, 1760. Novissima Editione. Two volumes in one; quarto (24.5cm.); contemporary vellum, manuscript spine label, all edges speckled red and brown; xx,420; 171[i.e. 471]pp. (*10 A-2A8 2B4 2B-2C4 2D6 A-2C8 2D-2I4); woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. Vellum soiled and corners bumped with brief exposure, faint contemporary manuscript scribbles to upper cover, lacking front free endpaper though retaining half title. A Very Good, internally fresh copy. Text almost entirely in Latin, some brief Chinese and French. Item #1240
Massive and authoritative compilation of studies on venereal diseases by French physician and professor Jean Astruc (1684-1766), the result of years of research which brought him to Paris where he served, among others, Louis XV. The work, first published in 1736, "was an instant success...In spite of his confusing syphilis and gonorrhoea--as did everyone else for another hundred years--he did clear the field of such charlatanism and ignorance which had existed previously, and his history of syphilis, the result of long and painstaking research, was a prodigy of wide reading and reasoning. The book became authoritative almost at once" (Janet Doe, "Jean Astruc (1684-1766)," "Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences," Vol. 15, no. 2 (April, 1960), p. 188). Astruc's sources were far-reaching, and he includes the Chinese treatment of venereal diseases in Vol. I, pp. 374-5; while the mention of venereal diseases in popular ballads and poetry appear in the original French in Vol. II, pp. 57 and 68-9 ("Plaisans Mignons, Gorriers, Esperrucats, / Pensez a vous, amendez votres cas, / Craignez les troux, car ils sont dangereux..." "Mais en la fin, quand le venin fut meur, / Il leur naissoit de gros boutons sans fleurs...") This edition also includes two theses on the subject, by Gerard van Swieten (1700-1772), Dutch physician to the Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa; and Giuseppe Maria Severio Bertini.