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174 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Andreas Vesalius o] Brussels, 151~-156~. By. C. D. O'Malley. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1964. Pp. xv ยง 480. 64 plates. $10.00.) Professor C. D. O'Malley, long a student of Vesalius and of the history of anatomy in the Renaissance, here gives us the fruits of his many years of research. The book has recently been given the Pfizer Award for 1965 as "the best work published during the previous year related to the history of science and written by an American scholar." As such it is a book which only peripherally touches upon the history of philosophy, and, consequently, I shall not discuss its technical aspects. But the interested reader is directed to the reviews in journals dealing specifically with history of science and history of medicine. O'Malley's monograph is meant to replace Moritz Roth's Andreas Vesalius Bruxellensis (Berlin: 1892) as the standard work. In the seventy years since the publication of Roth's work a good deal of research has been done, not only on Vesalius and Renaissance anatomy, but upon other aspects of sixteenth-century life as well. In many ways O'Malley's book recalls Roth's: both are cast in the same chronological form and both incorporate many documents by or concerning Vesalius into lengthy appendices. One might almost say that O'Malley took Roth's book as a model to be emulated. The change in intellectual climate between Berlin in the 1890s and Los Angeles in the 1960s is clearly indicated, however, by the fact that Roth printed his quotations from source materials in the original languages, whereas O'Malley translates into English throughout. The book can be divided into three unequal parts: (1) the intellectual and family background of Vesalius (pp. 1-27), (2) Vesalius' life and accomplishment (pp. 28-314), and (3) an Appendix of translations (pp. 316-420). There are also 64 pages of excellently chosen illustrations (including numerous samples from the Fabrica, one of the great landmarks in the history of book illustration), extensive end-notes (pp. 421-472), and an index of proper names--but, alas, not of historians who have written on Vesalius and who are mentioned in the notes. There is no separate bibliography, but the notes seem to cite all of the relevant secondary material; this information is rendered largely useless because of the lack of an index of historians. Since there already exists a carefully done biobibhography of Vesalius by Harvey Cushing (1943), there was no need to be overly detailed with regard to editions of Vesalius' works and the older literature referring to him. For a few publications relevant to the subject which have appeared since O'Malley finished his book and for a general survey of Vesahus research over the past half century, see 0'Malley's recent article, "A Review of Vesalian Literature," History o] Science, IV (1965), 1-14. The central and most important portion of the book is a chronological account of Vesalius' life with numerous digressions which illuminatingly analyze and discuss his individual works, his friends and acquaintances, and the intellectual influences which went into his formation. O'MaUey finds the major weakness of Roth's biography to lie "in its too enthusiastic appreciation of Vesalius' achievement without sufficient credit to his predecessors and contemporaries" (p. ix). He attempts to correct this by viewing the great anatomist more objectively and by carefully evaluating his achievement in relation to that of his contemporaries, predecessors, and successors. Even this re-evaluation, however, leaves this reader, at least, still somewhat puzzled regarding Vesalius' relation to Galen and the Galenic tradition. Vesalius saw his contribution to anatomy largely in terms of an improvement upon Galen and a correction of the many mistakes which Galen had made in that field. Although Vesalius doubtlessly was able to emend Galen in many particulars, as O'Malley so clearly points out, one cannot help wondering whether the Paduan professor was not overly harsh on his predecessor and, in fact, failed to recognize many of the real debts which he owed him. Vesalius was first and foremost an anatomist, whereas Galen had much broader intellectual...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 174-176
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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