Rare Book Post

by munchkin on October 20, 2016 - 3:58pm

Empirical Observations

During the visit to the Osler Library, the book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” by W. Cheselden was introduced to me. This book is unlike any other book that I am used to. The cover of the book did not have that much detail, it was a plain brown book made out of leather. The pages in the book were a tone of yellow rather than being white. The pages were made out of cloth and old clothes rather than being made out of pulp. The images in the book where drawn out by hand then later chiselled onto the pages. The texture of the images where very different, you could almost see the image coming out of the page. The images in the book seemed almost 3D. The book was fairly small, it was about 5 X 15 X 1.5 inches and weighed around three to four pounds. The book was a medical textbook for students in the medical field. The book was written in English, but the terminology used in the book was very different from the terminology that is used in medical textbooks today. The wording in the book made it seem as if the author was sceptical about what he/she was writing about. It almost seemed as if the author was asking the reader if her/his work is correct. The word maybe appeared often in the author’s text.  



The book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” by W. Cheselden written in the early 19th century differs from the more current reading “Medicine” by Harold J. Cook. Although both texts are very similar in a way that they are both referring to a topic in the medical field, the style of writing and presentation is very different. “The Anatomy of the Human Body” would be a less credible source compared to the text “Medicine” because words such as maybe are used throughout the text. “Neverthelefs nerves may be tubes, and poffibly a fluid, whole cohefion is very little, and whole parts, no finer than light, may move freely in them (Cook 248).” This makes the reader feel as if the author is uncertain as to what he/she is talking about. When learning about medicine, it is crucial for the texts to be accurate. In the book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” there are many illustrations in reference to the text, unlike the reading “Medicine” there are no illustrations. The illustrations in the book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” are accurate representations of the bones in the human body. The illustrations are one thing in the book that did not really get modified over time. The English in the book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” is similar to the English we use in the modern period. A difference in the English in the book is the calligraphy. While skimming through the text you can see that the letter “s” is written as a modern day “f.” The letter “s” is only changed at the beginning of a word and not in the middle of the word.

Although the information in the book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” is not all accurate, it is the foundation of modern medicine. Over the years new things get discovered and old discoveries get improved.  Without the book “The Anatomy of the Human Body” there would be no bases to new discoveries. Most of modern day discoveries are only found due to the modification of old discoveries. Every discovery needs to start somewhere even though it could be very wrong.

Works Cited

"Researchers @ Brown." Cook, Harold. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

“The Anatomy of the Human Body.” W. Cheselden, 1972