Of the Wood Called Guaiacum, that healeth the frenche pockes, and also helpeth the goute in the feete, the stone, palsey, lepre, dropsy, fallyinge euyll, and other diseses. Made in latyn by Ulrich Hutten knyght, and translated in to englysh by Thomas Paynel
by HUTTEN, Ulrich von
4 p.l. (4th leaf a blank), 58 leaves. 4to, 17th cent. calf (neatly rebacked & recornered), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: T. Berthelet, 1540. An early Tudor translation of an important early medical work on the curative properties of the American wood known as "guaiacum," a text first published in Latin in 1519 as De Guaiaci Medicina et Morbo Gallico by the German scholar, poet and reformation thinker Ulrich von Hutten (1488-1523). Hutten's treatise, which was quickly translated into several languages, popularized the use of guaiacum to treat several conditions, especially the scourge of syphilis, and accelerated the importation of this medicinal agent from the Caribbean. Indeed, the work likely convinced the Fugger banking family of Augsburg to seek a monopoly on the import of the drug from the Americas, a concession they later secured from the Spanish crown in exchange for a loan. In this work, Hutten gives a full account of the appearance of syphilis in Europe along with its various treatments. Hutten also recounts in detail his own struggle with the affliction (at one point, a friend counsels him to commit suicide) and the various therapeutic (and sometimes gruesome) regimens to which he was subjected, making the treatise one of the earliest patient narratives published. "This tract had enormous resonance in 16th-century medical circles…Hutten was the first significant publicist for the Guaiac treatment… Hutten's descriptions of the therapy are the most accurate of the period, and the account of the qualities of Guaiac is worthy of any modern pharmacopoeia…it remained influential into the 18th century."-L. Jillings, "The Aggression of the Cured Syphilitic: Ulrich von Hutten's Projection of his Disease as Metaphor," German Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (1995), p. 5. The present work was translated into English by Thomas Paynel, who recounts in his preface the genesis of the publication (English editions, all now very rare, appeared in 1533, 1536, 1539, and 1540). He describes visiting the printer Thomas Berthelet in London to discuss the intellectual and commercial success of their recent collaboration (the medical compendium Regimen sanitatis Salerni) and being urged to undertake Hutten's treatise for the good of Tudor England. Paynel closes with a disclaimer that patients should not take guaiacum without first consulting a physician. A fine and fresh copy. Final three leaves with minor marginal spotting.
(Inventory #: 6120)
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