Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vesalius in the classroom

Frontispiece, De humani corporis fabrica

Tomorrow's History of Medicine class is another great opportunity to bring rare books to our students. For the lecture on Renaissance medicine, I'm bringing one of the highlights of our collections, a 1555 edition of Andreas Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica. I also invited library staff to drop in and visit the book while we have it on hold for class - I was delighted to share it with some colleagues who had heard we had this monument of Western medicine, but had never seen it themselves.

As Sara noted in 2007, something that often seems to impress viewers of rare books is the condition and quality of the paper. Many are surprised to find that you can easily turn the pages without doing any damage. Our centuries-old Vesalius, while not in tip-top condition, has held up much better than, say, your average 1950s paperback book - primarily due to the quality of the paper they were each printed on.

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