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On the Fabric of the Human Body: A Translation of De Humana Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem [Hardcover]

Andreas Vesalius , William Frank Richardson , John Burd Carman

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Book Description

March 2003 0930405838 978-0930405830 1
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 deciphering 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 will supply a modern, accessible version of this monumental work for the first time. Readers will be impressed by the quality of the detailed anatomy and may be surprised by the grandeur and elegance of Vesalius’s literary style as rendered by the translators. The third volume in Richardson and Carman’s translation contains the third and fourth books of Vesalius’s Fabrica. Book III: The Veins and Arteries is made up of fifteen chapters; Book IV: The Nerves of seventeen, for a total of thirty-two chapters. In addition to the numerous woodcuts in the text, the volume reproduces Vesalius’s two magnificent folding illustrations of the blood vessels and of the nerves. The majority of the chapters in both books end with detailed translator’s notes explaining subtleties in the translation. There are also indexes to the arteries, veins, nerves and muscles, to the text, to people and places, to words from Greek and Latin, and to the translator’s notes. Informative and interpretive prefaces by the translator and anatomist provide details about the translation process of the book and anatomy described therein.

Editorial Reviews


Congratulations are once more in order at the completion of one more stage in this great project. -- Medical History (April 2004)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

Product Details

  • Series: On the Fabric of the Human Body
  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Jeremy Norman Co; 1 edition (March 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930405838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930405830
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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