The Anatomical Exercises: De Motu Cordis and De Circulatione Sanguinis, in English Translation

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Courier Corporation, 1953 - Science - 202 pages
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The English physician William Harvey (1578–1657) was the first to discover how blood actually circulates in living creatures. This book is a fascinating account of how Harvey's theory of the circulation of the blood came into being. A classic of science, it has long been considered a model of accurate observation, careful experimentation and notation, and logical deduction.
Through his intense studies in anatomy and the experience he gained through a long series of dissections of animals, Harvey amassed a much broader knowledge of the comparative anatomy of the heart and blood vessels than his contemporaries or any others before him. It was a breakthrough that stunned his colleagues, most of whom still clung to the theories of Aristotle, Galen, and others — theories Harvey proved both inadequate and inaccurate. The original text of Harvey's landmark study consisted of two works written and published in Latin. This Dover edition, reprinted from a rare copy of a limited edition of 1,450 copies, reproduces the English translation made during Harvey's lifetime. In the Editor's Postscript, Geoffrey Keynes praised this lively translation as one filled with "the vigour of the seventeenth century . . . with a sufficient sprinkling of expressive, if now unusual, terms to produce the feeling that Harvey himself is speaking."

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About the author (1953)

Born in Folkestone, Kent, England, Harvey was a British physiologist whose discovery of the circulation of the blood drastically changed medicine. In fact, Harvey is generally regarded as the founder of modern physiology. The publication of his Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (1628) was a landmark event, widely considered the most important medical book ever published. His observations of the heart's functions and blood flow were based on anatomical studies on cadavers, animals, and himself. The son of a wealthy businessman, Harvey was a student at Cambridge University, where he studied medicine. He completed his medical training at the leading European medical school of the period, Padua, where he was a student of the famous anatomist Girolamo Fabricius. When he completed his doctorate in medicine in 1602 he returned to London and was appointed physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. His reputation grew, and he was elected to the Royal College of Physicians, with which he was associated for the rest of his career. Ten years prior to the publication of his great work, he was appointed as a physician to James I. After the Scottish civil war and the demise of James I, Harvey returned to London and resumed his medical practice. He continued to observe animal life wherever he traveled and wrote two additional works on animal locomotion and comparative and pathological anatomy. However, it was the publication of his book on the circulation of the blood that assured him "a place of first importance in the history of science and medicine. By this discovery he revolutionized physiological thought" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). His work also encouraged others to study anatomy. Harvey's personal library, which he donated to the London College of Physicians, was unfortunately destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

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