BERNARD, Claude Introduction à l’Etude de la Médecine Expérimentale.


La médecine experimentale, a decisive work in science history

First edition, first issue, of Claude Bernard’s «  decisive work » that « marks a turning point in science history ». (En Français dans le texte 288). PMM 353.

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Paris, J. B. Baillière, 1865.

8vo [210 x 130 mm], 400 pp.; bound in contemporary green half-roan, flat spine decorated with gilt fillets, mottled edges. Head of spine slightly rubbed. Owner’s stamp on the first 3 leaves.

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First edition, first issue, of claude bernard’s “decisive work”. (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, III, p. 734). PMM 353 ; En Français dans le texte 288 ; Garrison-Morton 1766.501 ; Grolier, 100 Books famous in Science, 11b ; Norman 206.

« The introduction is a decisive work. When it was published, it was perfectly answering numerous questions concerning a medical science which was trying to find itself since Corvisart and that was involved in the fight of dogmatic systems, and was learning since, the precisions made about clinical observation and anatamo-pathology, the requirements of the physiology laboratories, of medical chemistry and histology […]. Claude bernard, for whom methodology was a constant concern, gave a coherent status to this medicine. He justified his experimental inclinations and established its bounds. From this moment, thanks to claude bernard, we can talk about an experimental medicine. However, the great physiologist’s work has a significance that goes beyond this discipline. His discoveries are valid for every scientific research fields. […].

The introduction is a revolutionary work as much as the ‘discours de la méthode’, well-known by the scholar. » Dictionnaire des Œuvres.

« When he came to Paris, Claude Bernard found his real vocation near F. Magendie: the study of vital functions with the experimental method. Before him, this method was barely used and in a non-systematic way. It permitted him to discover chemical and nervous vital phenomena unsuspected until this time […]. Concise and with a brilliant clearness, associating a personal adventure with great philosophical and scientific questions, this book marks a turning point in science history. Within, he sets out and details the “experimental reasoning” and establishes the notions of inner environment and biological determinism. The Introduction ‘is for us what was for the 17th and the 18th centuries the Discours de la Méthode’ (H. Bergson); it is ‘an everlasting book, a bible of scientific probity’ (J. Rostand) ». En Français dans le texte, 288.

« The Introduction was an important didactic work which biologists of the last hundred years have found of great interest and value ». (PMM).

« Probably the greatest classic on the principles of physiological investigation and of the scientific method as applied to the life sciences” (Garrison-Morton).

This copy bears the marks of the first issue: on page 400, there is the printer’s name Crété (the name Crété is replaced by Martinet in the second issue), and the names of the five branches of Baillière throughout the world appear on the title-page (only 3 names appear in the second issue).

A fine copy without any foxing, preserved in its fine contemporary green half-roan binding. Provenance : ex libris Bibliothèque Charpentier on the endpaper.

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