Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2010 Issue

<i>Pieces of You</i> from Better World Books

Betterworld1

Pieces of You - medical mayhem.


By Michael Stillman

This month we review the first catalogue from Better World Books of Mishawaka, Indiana. Better World is not your typical bookstore. They stock some 6 million books, including 50,000 in their rare, antiquarian and collectible category. Better World is also noted for making substantial donations to literary and similar causes, as well as running an environmentally friendly shop. Not your father's bookstore.

This catalogue comes with the odd title Pieces of You. This is not some metaphorical expression or the like. They mean it literally. This is a catalogue of books dealing with anatomy, primarily human, though a few monkeys, cats, rats, even fleas make their way into its the pages. You can learn all about your various parts, their use, maintenance, repair, even replacement. And while all of these organs, limbs, vessels and such are worthy in their own right, we should all be thankful that, in our case at least, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Here are some of the books being offered.

We will start with a man who could logically be called the father of anatomy. He lived in second century Rome, and although he never cut any humans open (it wasn't allowed, so he dissected monkeys), he remained the authority in the field for around 1300 years. That gives you an idea of the rate of progress during the Middle Ages. It wasn't until Vesalius began cutting open humans in the 16th century that anatomy again moved forward. Offered is a copy of Galen: On The Usefulness of The Parts of the Body, and though not published until 1968, some 1,700+ years after Galen died, it is a first of sorts. It is the first English edition translated directly from the original Greek. Priced at $50.

The most expensive book in this catalogue, and rightfully so, is an inscribed copy of Descriptive Zoopraxography Or the Science of Animal Locomotion, by Eadweard Muybridge. Muybridge was a noted photographer of animals in motion, creating a precursor to motion pictures. He would take numerous pictures of a moving animal split seconds apart. He used this process to answer an old question, "do all four of a horse's feet come off the ground at once when running?" (answer: yes). Muybridge developed a device for spinning through still photographs rapidly to create the illusion of motion, something akin to the process of motion films. This copy of Muybridge's 1893 book is inscribed to Dr. Henry Pickering Bowditch, a Dean of the Harvard Medical School who studied movement of the human body. $3,000.

The Surgical Treatment of Chronic Suppuration of the Middle Ear and Mastoid is a 1906 treatise on hearing by Dr. Seymour Oppenheimer. Better World notes that when "your child claims that he didn't hear you, you may wish to show him some of these surgical methods to improve his hearing." $40.

It gets worse. Much Worse. Next is A Treatise on Diseases of the Rectum, Anus, and Sigmoid Flexure, courtesy of one Joseph M. Matthews in 1893. Better World points out, "Things with points, hooks, or which use electricity shouldn't have anything to do with this part of your body." Amen. For those looking for a scary book to read, truth can be scarier than fiction. $70.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
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  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

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