Patrick's Rare Books

Ambroise Pare Works 1649

Ambroise Pare, Works, Second English edition, 1649

The Workes of that Famous Chirurgion, Ambrose Parey, Translated out of Latin and compared with the French by Tho. Johnson. Where unto are added three tractates out of Adrianus Spigelius of the veins, arteries, & nerves, with large figures. Also a table of the bookes and chapters. London, 1649. 

Folio bound in full brown leather (rebacked and restored by Vernon Wiering in 2020). Raised bands and red title plate on spine. Boards lightly speckled. Some variable browning of pages but most leaves still very bright. Possible blood spatter on one page. Binding is tight throughout. All plates and in-text figures present, including the three folding plates at the rear. A very good copy. Two color photo copies of binders waste loosely tucked inside. This binders waste was discovered under the original leather of the front and rear boards. These texts were identified by Frans van Liere at Calvin University as follows: 

“The first looks like a printed (paper) page (likely early 16th c.?) from the Corpus Iuris Canonici (main code of Canon Law), Decretum 2, Causa 26, question 1 cap. 6. It says that if a bishop or any other cleric sleeps with a nun, he should be deposed; if a lay person does it, he should be excommunicated. 

The second like a vellum manuscript, likely 15th c. It is a page from the Corpus Iuris Civiis (Roman civil law code with commentary), Digest, Liber 22, par. 1 D Quando dies, 36.2.”  


Though Ambroise Pare was a surgeon, this book includes many chapters that range far afield from medicine and surgery, including (but not limited to) incubi and succubi, miner’s encounters with subterranean demons, poisons, embalming, Pare’s journeys and/or voyages, discussions of why Pare refused to prescribe mummy dust, and copiously illustrated discussions of diverse and sundry animals and monsters. The more common topics of anatomy, physiology, wounds/trauma, diseases/pathology, surgical instruments, surgical/operative techniques, tumors, obstetrics, prescriptions/pharmaceuticals, and symptomatology are, of course, thoroughly incorporated into this work as well. 

On a personal note, I must add that this book really embodies almost all that is wonderful about collecting antiquarian books. It is in English so it is still readable for most Western eyes, yet that English is 17th century so it renders it slightly curious to most 21st century readers—and gives it an added veneer of antiquity. The topics contained in each chapter are fantastic and the