PARACELSUS, [Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim].
Opera Omnia Medico-Chemico-Chirurgica, tribus voluminibus comprehensa. Editio novissima et emendatissima ad Germanica & Latina exemplaria accuratissime collata.
Geneva: Sumptibus Joan. Antonii, & Samuelis De Tournes. 1658. First Tournes edition.
A fine copy, in contemporary vellum and with the often missing portrait, of “the best and most complete edition of Paracelsus’ collected works” (Neville). Dibner, Heralds of Science, no. 124.
“According to Sudhoff, bibliographer of Paracelsus’ works, this compendium of the works of Paracelsus, edited by Friedrich Bitiskius, is the most complete of the Latin collected editions. It contains virtually all of Paracelsus’ medical and philosophical writings, as well as Tintoretto’s beautiful portrait of Paracelsus, which is often missing” (Heirs of Hippocrates no. 215).
“Philippus Aureolus Theophratus Bobastus von Hohenheim, also known as Paracelsus, remains one of the most controversial and remarkable personalities of the Renaissance. He has been described as a quack, a magician, and astrologer, and alchemist, as well as a brilliant physician, prophet, and genius. Sir William Osler called him the ‘Luther of medicine,’ and Fielding Garrison lauded him as ‘the most original thinker of the sixteenth century.’ He was perhaps all of these …
“His introduction of a new concept of disease, based on the idea that each disease is due to a specific external cause, [was] to replace the ancient notion of disease as an internal idiosyncratic imbalance of humors. Paracelsus’s new idea of disease led him to new modes of therapy, using specific agents (often chemically derived) to battle against specific diseases. His followers founded the school of iatrochemistry, which flourished in Europe over the next century. Paracelsus made ether-like preparations that he used as sedatives and narcotics, and he introduced laudanum (tincture of opium) into the pharmacopeia. He advocated the use of minerals as therapeutic agents, including mercury, lead, copper sulfate, and antinomy. As a clinician, he was the first to describe congenital syphilis. He also gave the first description of cretinism, which he linked with goiter, and this in turn he connected to the mineral content of water. He studied the disease of minders and metallurgists and wrote the first monograph on an occupational disease. Forty years before Johann Weyer, he described the clinical manifestations of epilepsy, mania, and hysteria in a manner that was not improved on until Philippe Pinel and Jean-Étienne-Dominique Esquirol in the nineteenth century. In an age when the mentally ill were viewed as possessed by the devil and burned at the stake, he advocated humane treatment …
“As a surgeon, he treated wounds successfully using conservative methods, in contrast to the common practice of cauterization with boiling oil. He was the first to agree with the fourteenth-century French surgeon Henri de Mondeville that wounds must be kept clean, and Garrison described him as ‘almost the only asepsist between Mondeville and Lister.’
“Paracelsus was a voluminous writer …, but his controversial views and antagonistic personality alienated publishers, and only a few of his books appeared during his lifetime.” (Haskell F. Norman in One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine).
Dibner 124; Heirs of Hippocrates 215; Dorbon 3522 (“Edition de la plus insigne rareté”); Sotheran, Cat. 800  11703 (“Rare”); Neville Historical Chemical Library 260; Bolton 718; Osler 528.
3 vols. in 2, folio (354 x 212 mm), contemporary Dutch vellum, blind-stamped centre-pieces, some smudging to the spines and a few dark spots to the boards (probably blood). Fully complete, pp  828 ;  718 ;  212 ;  18 (the last volume being in two sections), titles in red and black with large vignettes, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, woodcut text illustrations, a fine and genuine copy, entirely unrestored.