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BARTHOLIN, Thomas (1616-1680) & MALPIGHI, Marcello (1628-1694)

De pulmonum substantia & Motu diatribæ. Accedunt Cl. V. Marcelli Malpighii de Pulmonibus observationibus anatomiacæ.
Hafniæ, typis Mathhiæ Godicchii, sumptibus Petri Hauboldi, 1663.

Second edition of Malpighi’s De pulmonibus. The first edition is of legendary rarity and few have ever seen it. It was originally published in Bologna 1661, a pamphlet written in the form of two letters to Malpighi’s friend and mentor Giovanni Alfonso Borelli. Bartholin immediately recognized the outstanding importance of Malpighi’s discovery of the capillary circulation in the lung and published the two letters at the end of his De pulmonorum substantia & motu diatribæ, 1663. Malpighi, one of the greatest microscopic anatomists, will always be associated with the discovery of the capillary circulation. In the course of studying the lung of a living frog microscopically, Malpighi made two observations of great historical significance which he described in his two letters to Borelli. In the first letter he offered proof that the windpipe terminates in many small, dilated air vessels, thus showing the correct anatomical basis of respiratory exchange in the lungs. In his second letter Malpighi described small channels connecting arteries with veins – structures now known as the blood capillaries. This was the first proof that blood circulation occured within a closed hydrualic system. Without the aid of adequate magnification, the previous workers who had conceived the circulation of the blood, could only predict the existence of this minute intercommunicating vascular network. Malpighi provided the final proof of the validity of Harvey’s theories of the circulation of the blood. Of special interest are the 12 detailed anatomical plates which Bartholin added at the end (they seem not to be found in all copies; they are not mentioned by Gosch). These plates were drawn by Olof Rudbeck (see Hemsterhuis, Messis aurea, 1659) and attracted great attention and were favourably received even by Bartholin, who used them in his De pulmonum substantia.

Collation: Malpighi: pp 103-[128] with 2 engraved plates. Complete volume: pp (8), 128 (p 127 mispaginated 107, verso unpaginated), (8) index. With 2 engraved plates (to Malpighi). Printer’s pelican device on title. At the end are 12 (Tab. I-XII) of the 13 plates drawn by Olof Rudbeck for his contribution in the second edition of Hemsterhuis’ Messis aurea (Heidelberg 1659), in which he presented the most important works on the lymphatic system by Pecquet, Bartholin and Rudbeck. All the plates are accompanied by one leaf of letterpress explanation, the same as in Messis aurea.

Binding: Contemporary vellum.

References: Garrison-Morton 760, 915 (Bologna, 1661); Grolier, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine 30; Lilly Library, Notable Medical Books, p 73; Heirs of Hippocrates 569; Fulton, Readings in the History of Physiology (1966), pp 66-71; Willius & Dry, History of Heart and Circulation (1948), pp 299-302; DSB, IX, pp 62-66; Osler 1936; English translation by J. Young in Proc. Roy. Soc. Med. 1929-30, Sect. Hist. Med. 23, pp 1-11; Gosch, III, p 52; Waller 727. Waller 727.

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