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Titel: Ein newes hochnutzlichs Büchlin von ...
Verlag: Strassburg, Heinrich Vogtherr, 1539
2 vols bound together, 4to (195 x 140 mm), I: ff , with woodcut anatomical diagram of the eye and optic nerve on verso of title, printer's device with woodcut portrait of the publisher on last page; II: ff , with woodcut anatomical diagram of the eye on verso of title (similar, but different to that in first work), printer's device on title and last leaf; very faint small waterstain on lower corner of Fuchs' work, not affecting text; fine, unrestored copies in nineteenth-century German painted boards. £38,500First editions of the two exceptionally rare first separate publications in the field of ophthalmology by a modern European, the first anonymous and the second by the celebrated physician Leonhard Fuchs.I. The Büchlin does not appear in the standard ophthalmology catalogues such as Becker or BOA, nor is it in Waller or Wellcome. There is a copy in the Wilmer Collection at Johns Hopkins, and Durling mentions obtaining facsimile leaves (title and last leaf) for the NLM copy from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. A second edition of the Büchlin appeared in 1539, which is in NLM.Because ophthalmology was the province of barber-surgeons, publications by learned medical authorities did not appear until relatively late. Prior to this anonymous tract, the only separate discussion of eye diseases was in the twelfth-century Grassi's De oculis, first printed in 1474 (Garrison and Morton 5816). Even Bartisch's celebrated Augendienst of 1583 (Garrison and Morton 5817) was probably 'polished' by a professional scribe; both Garrison and Frederick Blodi, who worked on its translation, concur that the Augendienst contains many elements that a learned physician of the Renaissance would not have included. In this context the anonymous Büchlin stands up reasonably well. Hirschberg, in fact, preferred it to the equally rare early pamphlet on eye diseases attributed to Leonhard Fuchs, the second item in the above. Discussing Fuchs' work, Alle Kranckheit der Augen, published in 1539 by the same publisher, Vogtherr of Srassburg, Hirschberg wrote: 'The same publisher produced one year [earlier] (1538) a small monograph about eye diseases which was written anonymously and is somewhat better, though it is aimed at the lay public.' Hirschberg goes on to say that this and Fuchs' work apparently influenced Bartisch (Hirschberg, translated by Blodi, II p 309).The Büchlin begins very impressively with a full-page woodcut of the anatomy of the eye. This elaborate woodcut is the second diagram of the eye mentioned by Gorin (31), preceded only by Reisch in 1504. Gorin 24 shows a very similar woodcut used to illustrate Alhazen. Crombie ('The Scientific Study of Vision' in Historical aspects of microscopy, ed. Bradbury & Turner  19) shows the same woodcut and states that it was borrowed by the editor of Alhazen from a contemporary illustration for use in the Opticae Thesaurus (Basel, 1572). Possibly the illustration derives from the Büchlin. The publisher of the Büchlin, Heinrich Vogtherr, was quite active in the late 1530s promoting pictorial anatomical information aimed at the non-academic public. The earliest extant anatomical fugitive sheets, the exceptionally rare Anathomia . eines Weybs leyb and . Mans leyb were issued by Vogtherr at Strasbourg in 1538 and 1539 respectively; these celebrated sitting figures show the internal organs by means of lift-up flaps (see Herrlinger 160-62 and 172, reproducing versions of the so-called 'Vogtherr Twins'; also Choulant/Frank 158-59 and Wells, 'Anatomical Fugitive Sheets with Superimposed Flaps, 1538-1540', Med. Hist. XII  403-07).Vogtherr's Büchlin was intended, according to its lengthy full title, to provide highly useful knowledge of the anatomy of the eye, and eye diseases and their various remedies. After two pages on anatomy, discussion of affections of the eye begin, with references to cataract, affections of the cornea, conjunctiva, pruritus, clearing the sight, etc. The pamphlet. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 3960
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