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MOREL, Bénédict Auguste (1809-1873)

Traité des dégénérescences physiques, intellectuelles et morales de l’espèce humaine et des causes qui produisent ces variétés maladies. Accompagné d’un Atlas de XII planches.
Paris, J.B. Baillière, 1857.

First edition of Morel’s degeneration theory, to which the modern concept of schizophrenia owes its genesis. The rare and famous Atlas contains 12 plates, drawn by Thorelle after some of the earliest photographs of the insane. The plates are lithographed by Léveillé. There are 2-4 patiens depicted on each plate. ”The main support of the theory of mental illness as regression which dominated psychiatric practice for several decades. Morel described and illustrated the nature, causes, and signs of human degeneration. He focused on physical signs but also included various intellectual and moral deviations. This led to the classification of criminals and genuises as types of degeneartes or deviates along with the insane and neurotic. Morel emphasized the hereditary factor and his work helped bring about a de-emphasis on therapeutic work in the psychiatry of his time . . .” (Garrison-Morton) " . . . Morel’s theories influenced those of Lombroso, and also provided topics for the naturaliste literary movement led by Émile Zola.” (Norman)

Collation: Pp xix, (1) errata, 700. Contemporary black half cloth. Atlas: 4to – leaf: 300 x 215 mm. Pp 23 (preface and explication of plates). With 12 lithographed plates after photographies.

Binding: Contemporary leather-backed marbled boards.

Provenance: The signature of Bror Gadelius on front fly leaf. Atlas: Old library stamp of Kungl. Gymnastiska Central Institutet on title.

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