JF Ptak Science Books Post 1965
I dealt finally with something that I had overlooked for a long time: a medical manuscript written at about the turn of the 18th century, somewhere in the first decade or so, 1800-1810. Its a nicely written, neat journal, but with no identification for the writer or for the time, or place. Reading it through somewhat gives me the impression that it is a lecture book more so than a student's notebook--it is certainly something in the professional arena, though, and not a work put together by an amateur.
The work is interesting and is dedicated mainly to suppuration and ulcers and fever and wounds (including a longish section on gunshot wounds). In the middle section of section dedicated to wounds is a section on wounds and incision, and there begins a short, three-page consideration of what we know today as rhinoplasty. And it is in this section that the author includes a then-famous and somewhat bawdy poem on plastic surgery--specifically, a failure in the surgery of one of the early founding surgeons in the field.
The quote is from Samuel Butler's popular and appreciated poem, Hudibras, and goes so:
To learned Taliacotius
the brawny part of porter's bum,
cut supplemental noses, which
would last as long as parents breech,
but when the date of nock was out
off dropped the sympathetic snout...
--Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Canto 1, volume 1, page 89. Source for full text via Google Books, here, the annotated and edited version by Zachary Grey, published in London in 1806 following the initial publication in 1674-1678.
The author referred to the mocking Butler's (in his mock-historical-epic) stab at the Italian surgeon Gaspar Taliacotius (1546-1599), who at the very least wrote about surgical procedures that would restore the appearance of lost noses and other body parts, and this mainly in his Chirurgie Nota, in the second edition of 1597. He may have claimed to be the first at this particular surgical procedure, though he wasn't (with a number of other medical folks reporting on it, including the great Vesalius who did so almost 50 years earlier); and he also clai8med to have performed the procedure, though perhaps he actually didn't. No matter for right now--the treatment was extraordinary, and during this period was utilized by a number of different doctors with varying degrees of success. Butler, on the other hand, had a pretty low opinion of the practice, and our unidentified author carried forward Butler's sentiments in his notes.
Here's an image of the Taliacotius procedure:
It should be noted that there was a statue of Taliacotius dedicated in the medical school at Bologna where he taught--a full, standing sculpture, with the doctor holding a nose in his hand.
Anyone interested in purchasing this medical manuscript can read about it in more detail, below: