Cinq livres, De la maniere de nourrir et gouverner les enfans des leur naissance. Poictiers: par les Marnefz & Bouchetz, freres, 1565.

DE VALLAMBERT Simon (1565)


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8vo (220 x 155mm). [4]ff. 379, [1]pp. Modern green morocco by Devauchelle with simple gilt double fillets, spine lavishly gilt in compartments, inside dentelles, marbled endpapers, a.e.g. 

Poictiers: par les Marnefz & Bouchetz, freres

First edition of the first treatise on paediatrics in French by medic and humanist Simon de Vallambert, physician to Margaret of Valois, later known as Marguerite de France after her marriage to King Henry IV.

The study is divided into five books, which deal with choosing a wet nurse, instructions on caring for a baby at different developmental stages, and infant illnesses. De Vallambert ‘addressed the issue of women’s health using all the arguments of the time [...] and established a more modern view of the subject. He succeeded during a time in the history of medicine when anatomical-medical works regarding women were mostly mumbling’ (Zinguer, 213).

In the introduction De Vallambert states his intent to create a work of ‘le plus grande breveté & facilité qu’il est possible’, in contrast with previous writing on the subject. He cites Louis XII’s physician, Miron, as an example, who gathered the medical wisdom of the ancients and compiled it in one great, cumbersome volume, in Latin. To this end, De Vallambert explains, he has written his treatise in French. In doing so, he contributed to a growing body of medical literature written in this period in the vernacular. It was controversial, particularly on a topic such as this: ’translating medical works into the vernacular for dissemination among lay readers (including women) was regularly considered to require justification or defence. ...The arguments centred on [...] the propriety of using the vernacular for medical matters, and the possibility of achieving adequate synonyms for Latin scientific terminology in French, which was perceived still as an imperfect, developing language’ (Worth-Stylianou, 1-2). De Vallambert is the author of another vernacular medical work, De la conduit du fait de chirurgie (Paris, Vascosan, 1559) also dedicated to Marguerite de France.

Provenance: Ex libris Commandant Paul Louis Weiller, and thence by descent.

Washed, tear, neatly repaired to outer blank margin of p.49, not touching text.

BMTSC (French), p.434. Osler 4152. I. Zinguer, ‘Review’, Renaissance Quarterly, 60.1 (2007), pp.213-4. V. Worth-Stylianou, ‘Why some Renaissance medical translations into French retained Latin for prescriptions, notes and prefaces’, ‘Transforming the Early Modern Republic of Letters’ Conference, Maison Francaise Oxford (April, 2014).  

Stock Code: 242740

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