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FÉRÉ, Charles (1852-1907)

Les épilepsies et les épileptiques.
Paris, Ancienne librairie Germer Baillière et cie., Félix Alcan, éditeur, 1890.

A monumental undertaking by an important member of the Charcot circle, this volume is a synopsis of all that was understood and documented on neurologic disorders up to the time of its publication in 1890. The photographs are attributed to Albert Londe, who was one of the editors for the most important organ of the Charcot researchers, namely the Nouvelle iconographie de la Salpêtrière published from 1888 to 1915. Féré cites case histories and observations from over 800 physicians and presents his own classification of hystero-epileptic disorders, but curiously, he does not cite Paul Richer whose magnum opus entitled Études cliniques sur l’hystéro-épilepsie ou hystérie was first published in 1881 with a preface written by Charcot and which extrapolated Charcot's theories on the subject to include famous religious ecstatics such as Louise Lateau. ”By referring to the famous painting by André Brouillet entitled, Une leçon clinique à la Salpêtrière, Féré can be observed seated next to Paul Richer and both men are shown to be fixedly watching the great Charcot as he uses hypnosis on his patient Blanche Wittmann so as to demonstrate before an audience of proteges his theory for an organic basis of neurosis. The photographer Albert Londe can be observed seated to the far left. It is my belief that Féré would have availed himself of the services of Londe and the photographic laboratories he established at the Salpêtrière for the images which illustrate this volume. An éminence distingué, Londe was integral to the research production that came out of the Salpêtrière during Charcot's tenure and it is a tribute to the stewardship of Charcot that he gathered around him not only the brightest minds of science, but artists and photographers as well, according them the same collegiality he extended to his researchers.” (Mark Rowley)

Collation: Pp vii, (1) blank, 636, with 12 plates numbered I-XII, eleven of which has a tipped-in photograph, and 67 figures in the text.

Binding: Contemporary half calf, gilt decorated spine, with black title label, marbled boards, red edges.

Provenance: Bror Gadelius (1862–1938), with his signature on front free endpaper. Gadelius was one of the foremost psychiatrists in Sweden in the early nineteenth century, professor of psychiatry at the Karolinska Institute, first physician of Konradsberg Hospital in Stockholm and the one who more than others in Sweden discussed Freud’s writings.

References: Rowley, Mark, Cabinet Art and Medicine. A Bibliography of the first medical books printed with photographs (www.artandmedicine.com).

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