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ESQUIROL, Jean Etienne Dominique (1772–1840)

Des maladies mentales. Considérées sous les rapports médical, hygiénique et médico-légal. Tome Premier - Second & Atlas.
Paris, J.-B. Baillière, libraire de l’Acadèmie Royale de Medecine, 1838.

First edition of ”the first modern textbook of psychiatry” (Garrison-Morton) Esquirol was the most outstanding pupil of Philippe Pinel (1745–1826), the famous reformer in the treatment of the insane. Esquirol studied in Paris at the Salpetrière under Pinel and greatly assisted his master in the efforts of introducing more humane methods. He was the first lecturer on psychiatry and after Pinel the founder of the French school of psychiatry. Esquirol was one of the first to apply statistical methods to clinical studies of insanity. He recognized the uselessness of the traditional terminology for mental illnesses, and created new descriptions and classifications based upon his own observations. He was the first to distinguish between hallucinations and illusions, and between dementia and idiocy; he also provided the classic description of paresis, coined the term “monomania” (a concept foreshadowing the modern view of schizophrenia) and distinguished certain depressive states (“hypermanias”) from other psychoses. His classic book, Des Maladies Mentales (1838) was a basic text for half a century and stimulated his students to contribute to new and basic definitions in clinical psychiatry. It was translated into English in 1845, which edition was reprinted in 1965. The 26 delicately engraved plates by Ambroise Tardieu represent the first important iconography of the insane. Pl. 27 is a large folding engraved plan of grounds and hospital of Charenton by Le Blanc. Esquirol contributed a series of articles to the Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales (1812–1822). He was responsible for among others the articles Demonomanie, Foli, Manie, and Lypemanie. These were illustrated by engravings based on drawings made in the asylum at the Salpetrière by George Francois Marie Gabriel and are showing the facial expression and the physical structure of the insane. These and other papers by Esquirol were collected and published in a revised and expanded version in 1838 in his classic Des Maladies Mentales. They were the fruits of a forty-year-study and observations of patients and presented the first survey of the whole field of psychiatry in the spirit of unprejudiced observation and detailed description based on an unprecedented number of patients. The illustrations were appended in a separate atlas, the first atlas of the appearance of the insane. The 26 plates provide a vivid and representative cross-section of the population of the Salpetrière.

Collation: Vol. I: pp xviii, 678. Vol. II: pp (4), 864. Atlas: pp (4) title and index, with 27 engraved plates, of which one large folding, numbered I-XXVII.

Binding: Three volumes. Contemporary half calf, gilt ruled spines, marbled boards.

References: Garrison-Morton 4798 and 4929; Hunter & Macalpine, 731-738; Zilboorg & Henry, 390-393; Haskell Norman 724; Eimas, Heirs of Hippocrates, 1268; Alexander & Selesnick, The History of Psychiatry, pp 137-138; Gilman, Seeing the Insane, pp 76-82; Hirsch II, pp 437-39; Hagelin, Rare and Important Medical Books in the Library of the Swedish Society of Medicine, pp 152-153. SLS 500. Waller 2817.

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