De calculo renum & vesicae liber singularis. Cum epistolis &…

Harvey embraced “with both arms”

~ De calculo renum & vesicae liber singularis. Cum epistolis & consultationibus magnorum virorum. Leyden: Elzevir Press, 1638.

12mo (122 × 70 mm.), pp. [xvi], 305, [15]. Woodcut Elzevir device to title, woodcut initials. Title soiled, with traces of an early ownership inscription, some scattered spotting, a few early ink underlinings. Contemporary vellum, title in old manuscript to spine. Rubbed (further wear in places) and slightly soiled, with the covers a little bowed. A good copy.

First edition of this famous work in urology, one of the earliest medical books to accept William Harvey’s account of the circulation of the blood. Beverwyck was a Dutch physician and a relative of Vesalius.

He sent a copy of this work to Harvey with a letter praising him for his work on circulation, saying “As everyone here wonderingly admires this doctrine, so I too embrace it both both arms in the little book which I send ‘On the calculus of the kidneys and the bladder’”. Harvey replied at length, praising the work with the punning passage: “Pleasing me, learned and elegant, and truly original, your De calculo renum et vesicae, in which you have laid a firm and solid foundation for your name and fame; go on to build further day by day, and erect a splendid monument of your genius. I will, not unwillingly, add my stone...” He went on to provide a detailed and approving critique of Beverwyk’s work on the operation of the kidneys. Keynes, The Life of William Harvey, pp. 271-73. Murphy, History of Urology, p. 78. Willems 463.

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