The Circulation of the Blood
If the pulsations of the arteries fan and refrigerate the several parts of the body as the lungs do the heart, how comes it, as is commonly said, that the arteries carry the vital blood into the different parts, abundantly charged with vital spirits, which cherish the heat of these parts, sustain them when asleep, and recruit them when exhausted? and how should it happen that, if you tie the arteries, immediately the parts not only become torpid, and frigid, and look pale, but at length cease even to be nourished?-from the IntroductionThis seminal work of medical literature, first published in 1628, spells out in clear, lucid language how the human heart pumps blood around the body via its own exclusive circulatory route. What seems like an obvious concept to us today was in fact quite revolutionary at the time: Harvey's defiance of the medical "common knowledge" of his time laid the groundwork for all modern investigations of the circulatory system, and may be the most momentous discovery of 17th-century medicine.This important volume also includes a series of letters from Harvey to his medical colleagues in which he defends his then-astonishing theories, plus Harvey's "The Anatomy of Thomas Parr," a fascinating 1635 report on the dissection of the corpse of "a poor farmer of extremely advanced age."OF INTEREST TO: readers of scientific history, medical studentsBritish naturalist, anatomist, and doctor WILLIAM HARVEY (1578-1657) was educated at Cambridge, Canterbury, and Padua, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1607. He served as court physician to both King James I and King Charles I.
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Page 9 - I profess both to learn and to teach anatomy, not from books but from dissections; not from the positions of philosophers but from the fabric of nature...
Page 43 - Had anatomists only been as conversant with the dissection of the lower animals as they are with that of the human body, the matters that have hitherto kept them in a perplexity of doubt would, in my opinion, have met them freed from every kind of difficulty.
Page 24 - These views as usual, pleased some more, others less; some chid and calumniated me, and laid it to me as a crime that I had dared to depart from the precepts and opinions of all anatomists...
Page 26 - ... small fishes and of those colder animals where the organ is more conical or elongated. 3. The heart being grasped in the hand, is felt to become harder during its action. Now this hardness proceeds from tension, precisely as when the forearm is grasped, its tendons are perceived to become tense and resilient when the fingers are moved. 4. It may further be observed in fishes, and the...
Page 24 - For never yet hath any one attained To such perfection, but that time, and place, And use, have brought addition to his knowledge ; Or made correction, or admonished him, That he was ignorant of much which he Had thought he knew ; or led him to reject "What he had once esteemed of highest price.