Anatomia hepatis: Glisson, Francis

Anatomia hepatis

Glisson, Francis

Published by Du-Gard for Pullein, London, 1654
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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"Glisson's Capsule" GLISSON, Francis (1597?-1677). Anatomia hepatis. Cui praemittuntur quaedam ad rem anatomicam universe spectantia. . . . 8vo. [48] 458 [14]pp. 2 folding engraved plates, engraved text illustration, text woodcuts. London: Du-Gard for Octavian Pulleyn, 1654. 166 x 111 mm. 17th cent. calf, rebacked, endpapers renewed. Marginal dampstaining, lower edge of pp. 301-2 repaired, other lower edges frayed. Early inscriptions on flyleaf and title. First Edition. G-M 972. The first book printed in England to present a detailed account of a single organ based on original research, and the most important book to date on the physiology of the digestive system. Glisson used advanced anatomical methods, such as casts and injection of colored fluids, which enabled him to illustrate the vessels of the liver (portrayed in the two engraved plates). He described the passage of blood from the portal vein to the vena cava, and proved that lymph flows not to the liver, as was then believed, but from it, passing to the recently discovered capsula communis. This fibrous capsule, which Glisson was the first to describe accurately, is now known as "Glisson's capsule." "Educated at Cambridge, where he later served as Regius Professor of Physic, Glisson was part of the extraordinary ferment in medicine and the life sciences that occured in the two English universities in the earlier seventeenth century. Like his influential colleague and friend, William Harvey, Glisson epitomized the English style of biological research: he was theoretically conservative and non-dogmatic; and at the same time he was committed to a rigorous program of experimentation, precise observation, and accurate description. His principal publications, especially the Anatomia hepatis, join an experimental exactitude and direct observation of the particular with a felt concern to preserve basic Aristotelian and Galenic traditions of natural philosophy. . . . Glisson's classic work on the liver . . . was based on dissections that Glisson had done over a decade earlier. It was the first work to recast fundamentally the physiology of the abdominal organs, to delineate the structure and function of the liver, and to identify and describe the fibrous tissue encasing the liver (Glisson's capsule). It also introduced Glisson's important concept of 'irritability,' in which he argued that irritation was the organism's way of recognizing substances to be expelled. The property of irritability was thus basic to the health of the organism" (Grolier Club, 100 Books Famous in Medicine [forthcoming], 29). DSB. Lilly, p. 67. Norman 911. Russell 322. Bookseller Inventory # 39772

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Title: Anatomia hepatis

Publisher: Du-Gard for Pullein, London

Publication Date: 1654

Edition: 1st Edition

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