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A treatise on the blood, inflammation and gunshot wounds
London: John Richardson for George Nichol, 1794.

John Goodsir's Copy

Hunter, John (1728-93). A treatise on the blood, inflammation, and gun-shot wounds. . . . to which is prefixed, a short account of the author's life, by his brother-in-law, Everard Home. 4to. lxvii, [1], 575pp. Engraved portrait frontispiece by William Sharp (1749-1824) after the painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92), 9 engraved plates by William Skelton. London: John Richardson for George Nicol, 1794. 252 x 202 mm. Marbled calf ca. 1794, rebacked, corners a bit worn. Scattered foxing, but a very good copy. From the library of Scottish anatomist John Goodsir (1814-67), with his pencil signature, dated 1831, on the front free endpaper. University of St. Andrews library inscriptions on portrait and title; library discard stamp on verso title.

First Edition. G-M 2283. Hunter's epoch-making last work, in which he published for the first time his observations on war injuries made during the Seven Years' War 32 years before, along with his studies of inflammation, which were of prime importance to pathology. Hunter was ahead of his time in recognizing and describing the three basic factors of wound pathology: (1) that an external agent in the air, and not the air itself, is a factor in wound inflammation; (2) that a good blood supply is essential in maintaining the natural defenses of the body; and (3) that the presence of devitalized tissue in a gunshot or other deep and contused wound prevents the wound from healing and promotes sepsis. He advocated a conservative system of deep wound management in which the natural functions of suppuration and drainage would be allowed to operate; this policy made sense in the context of 18th-century surgical practice, in which the causes of infection were unknown and antiseptic practices unheard-of. With regard to inflammation, Hunter recognized it as one of the most widespread phenomena in pathology and classified it into three types: (1) adhesive, in which adherence of contiguous parts causes localization of disease; (2) suppurative, in which pus is formed; and (3), ulcerative, in which tissue loss occurs through the action of the lymphatics.

This copy is from the library of Scottish anatomist John Goodsir, a pioneer in the study of the cell (see Garrison-Morton 2294.1). Goodsir was an alumnus of the University of St. Andrews. Norman 1122. Long, Hist. Pathol., pp. 90-92. Qvist, Hunter, pp. 76-77; 146-53. Robb-Smith, "John Hunter's Private Press," J. Hist. Med. & Allied Sci. 25 (1970): 262-69.


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Last Found On: 2014-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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