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DAGONET, Henri (1823–1902)

Nouveaux traité élémentaire et pratique des maladies mentales suivi de considérations pratiques sur l’adminstration des asiles d’alienés.
Paris, J. B. Baillière & Fils, 1876.

First published in 1867 this second edition is substantially revised and a completely new work and one of the first medical books to contain photographs of mental patients. The photographs were taken in the Strassburg asylum by Drs. Hildenbrand, Cayre and Bonnet. These were accompanied by only brief comments, such as 'quiet, chronic mania, with extravagant acts’, etc. For the 1894 edition, Dagonet’s brief remarks were expanded to much lengthier descriptions of the pathognomy of insanity. In the preface the author says that the book is ‘la premiere application de la photoglyptie a l’iconographie medicale, . . .’ The mounted photographic plates, all signed ”Clichés de J. Valette” and printed in sepia by the famous firm Lemercier ”Phoptoglyptie Lemercier et Cie”. There are two to five cameo portraits on each plate. The 33 portraits represent Dogonet’s classification of nine mental disorders: Manie (3), Lypémanie (4), Stupidité (5), Mégalomanie (3), Folie impulsive (3), Démence (5), Imbécilité (5), and Crétinisme (5). Dagonet was Chief of medical services at the insane asylum of Sainte-Anne in Paris.

Collation: Pp. (4), iv, 732. At the end is bound publ. adverts, pp 8 + 8 + 8, dated Mai 1876, Juin 1876, Avril 1876. One folding engraved map and 8 mounted ‘photoglyptic’ (i.e. woodburytype) plates containing portraits of 33 patients.

Binding: Publisher’s blind-stamped bordeaux cloth, gilt spine title. Paste-downs and endpapers with publ. adverts.

Provenance: Erik Nordenson (1847–1919).

References: Gilman, Seeing the Insane, pp. 177-78 with three reproductions; Norman 568; Alison Gernsheim, ‘Medical photography in the 19th century’ in Medical and Biological Illustration (London, 1961); Truthful Lens 41.

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