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    Early Sixteenth-Century Edition of
    Hieronymus Brunschwig's Book on Surgery

    Hieronymus Brunschwig. Chirurgia das ist handwürckung der wundartzney M. Jeronymi Braunschweig, weilend der Kaiserlichen Statt Strassburg Wundartzet, wie er die von vil erfarnen Artzeten gelernet, unnd inn seiner Practica löblich gebraucht hatt. Mit sönderm fleyss von newem wider aussgangen. [Augsburg: Alexander Weissenhorn], 1534. Fourth edition, following the July 1497 editio princeps by Johann Grüninger in Strassburg (with title: Dis ist das buch der Cirurgia Hantwirckung der wundartzny von Hyeronimo Brunschwig), the December 1497 edition by Johann Schönsperger in Augsburg, and the 1513 Strassburg edition by Johann Grüninger. Small quarto (7.75 x 6 inches; 199 x 154 mm.). [4], 119 leaves ([4], I-XVI, XXVII-CXXIX). Numbers XVII-XXVI omitted in foliation; fol. CXXII misnumbered CXXIII. Signatures: aa4 A-Z4 a-g4 (g4 blank). Lacking blank leaf g4. Text in double columns; forty-one or forty-two lines. Large woodcut on title-page and forty-five large woodcuts in the text (including several repeats); twelve smaller woodcuts of surgical instruments in the text. Six-line decorative initials. Colophon on g3 (fol. 129) verso: "Getruckt in der Kayserlichen stat / Augspurg / Durch Alexan= / der Weyssenhorm. / M. D. XXXIII."
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    Modern antique-style dark brown calf. Covers decoratively bordered in blind, with a central blind tool; spine lettered in gilt and decoratively tooled in blind in compartments with four raised bands and date in gilt at the foot. Binding with a few scuff marks. First four leaves, including title, slightly smaller, extended at gutter margin, and reinserted; leaf g3 (fol. 129) neatly extended at outer margin; tiny portion of lower corner of A4 (fol. 4) renewed. Three-inch diagonal tear from outer edge of f4 (fol. 126), repaired, affecting a few letters on recto, and upper corner of woodcut and one word of chapter heading on verso; a few additional leaves with minor marginal tears or paper flaws, some neatly repaired; very occasional minor marginal worming. Some mostly marginal soiling or staining throughout; dampstaining to lower portion of textblock in seven gatherings (from Y1-e4 (fols. 95-122)). Overall, a respectable copy, that was apparently referred to often. Faint early ink signature at head of title; early ink signature crossed at foot of I1 recto (fol. 43r); a few occasional pencil marks.


    "The first important printed surgical treatise in German. It combines a compilation of the ancient and medieval authorities with Brunschwig's own extensive experience. It contains the first detailed account of gunshot wounds in medical literature, and is notable for its woodcuts,- some of the earliest specimens of medical illustration" (Garrison & Morton 5559, describing the 1497 first edition).


    "The third most important work published on surgery in the fifteenth century [after Guglielmo da Saliceto of Bologna's La ciroxia vulgarmento fata (Venice: 1474) and Guy de Chauliac's Chirurgia magna (Lyons: 1478)] was the Cirurgia of Hieronymus Brunschwig, first printed at Strasbourg by Grüninger in 1497. Another edition was published later that year by Schönsperger at Augsburg. As Dr. Sigerist has shown Brunschwig was the first German author to write an important manual and the first German surgeon to take advantage of the then recently invented printing press to gain a wider sphere of influence for himself. Brunschwig was an exceedingly well-read man who possessed a far wider knowledge of literature than most of his colleagues. He says in his book on distillations, published in 1500 by Grüninger, that he had studied from 3,000 books. Brunschwig's Cirurgia was intended to be a manual for practical use and was written in German in the Strasbourg dialect. The book was well illustrated with several finely executed woodcuts which in themselves are a source for costume design of the fifteenth century. These fine drawings have helped to make this work one of the most beautiful of the medical books printed in the fifteenth century" (Thomas E. Keys, "The Earliest Medical Books Printed with Movable Type: A Review," The Library Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2 (April 1940), page 226, also describing the 1497 first edition).


    The woodcuts in this edition are by an unknown artist who signed most of them with the initials H.B. (at one time attributed to Hans Burgkmair). Freely copied from those in the 1497 edition, they include eighteen nearly full-page cuts (including repeats) and twenty-eight composite cuts, each printed from two blocks (including repeats). "The scenes that resulted invariably involved a group of three people (the surgeon and his retinue) on one side of the frame who are gazing at a single figure on the other. The single figure is the patient who sometimes is displaying a particular wound or ailment while seated in a chair, sometimes while standing and sometimes lying in bed" (R. Allen Shotwell, "The Anatomist and the Book in the Early Sixteenth Century," draft of a talk presented at the University of Iowa History of Medicine Society, April 29, 2011).


    Benzing, Brunschwig, 4. Choulant, Graphische Incunabeln für Naturgeschichte und Medicin, page 82. Durling 744. Muther 950. Sudhoff, Deutsche medizinische Inkunabeln, 58b. USTC 621028. VD 16 B 8706. Waller 1577.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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