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Democrito et Eraclito; Dialoghi del riso, delle lagrime e della malinconia (bound with) Il teatro de vari e diviersi cervelli

FERRARI, Giacomo; GARZONI, Tommasso

Published by Aurelio e Lodovico Osanna, Mantova, 1627
From B & L Rootenberg Rare Books, ABAA (Sherman Oaks, CA, U.S.A.)

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Woodcut printer's device on title, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. Later cloth-backed marbled boards, some wear to boards and edges; repair to second title. Ferrari's work with contemporary annotations. I. First edition, rare. Ferrari (fl.1619-1627), chief physician of Mantova, dedicated this work to Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. He here examines the distinctions in philosophical approaches to many aspects of life through happiness and laughter. His main reference points are the two ancient philosophers, Democritus (the "philosopher of laughter") and Heraclitus (the "weeping philosopher"), due to their opposing philosophies.In the first of three dialogues Ferrari investigates the theme of laughter through the opinions of his two proponents, Alessandro Guerini and Cesare Cremonini, on a series of questions raised by Cicero, including what laughter is, where it comes from, and if it is appropriate for an orator. He references the works of ancient writers from Hippocrates to Aristotle. Ferrari states that laughter arises from the heart, and that it expands not only itself but the muscles of the face and chest. The second part is a dialogue about tears between two well-known physicians, André Du Laurens (1558-1609) and Joseph Duchesne (1544-1609). Ferrari, who translated Duchesne's work on pharmacology from Latin to Italian, explores the nature of tears, pointing out the obvious: some are sincere, other false. He treats the origin of tears, the different theories propounded by the ancient writers and philosophers (Aristotle and Galen, for example), and the effect of an over-abundance of tears. After stating that women are easy weepers as they are more vulnerable and inconstant than men, Ferrari explains how nevertheless fearless generals and other leaders tend to cry as a sign of compassion (Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, to name few).The third part is Ferrari's edition of Du Laurens' work on melancholy. He describes melancholy as a delirium without fever that brings fear and sadness and is based in the brain. People that suffer from melancholy are (apparently) restless and are unable to sleep well. He cites some amusing cases about melancholic persons as told by ancient Greek and Arab physicians. The last part is a brief compendium of both natural and chemical recipes to fortify the head, cheer the heart and warm the stomach, in essence to defeat the disease. II: Later edition (first published in 1583) of this curious philosophical-medical text on psychology. Garzoni examines what can be loosely translated as the "young brain," or the developing personality. Through a series of anecdotes and stories, along with references to a number of professional endeavors such as astrology, alchemy, psychology and study of cabala, each of the fifty-five chapters highlights a mood, or personality type such as young, unstable, sad, virtuous, resolute, lazy, curious, stupid and funny, to name but a few. Garzoni (1549-1589) studied law at Ferrara and Siena, and then entered the monastery of Santa Maria del Porto in Ravenna. He was a detailed investigator of human nature, particularly open-minded for a member of a Catholic religious order. An erudite and prolific writer, he published works such as La piazza universale, a compendium of professions, giving descriptive and historical references for contemporary occupations ranging from assassin and overall villian to Apiculturist, Clog-Maker, Monk, Inquisitor, and Officers of the Customs and Excise, and the Hospital of Incurable Madness, a "best-selling" compendium of a wide range of social deviance, from that caused by physiological illness, to anti-social behavior, to heresy. Bookseller Inventory # 15731

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Democrito et Eraclito; Dialoghi del riso, ...

Publisher: Aurelio e Lodovico Osanna, Mantova

Publication Date: 1627


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