Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2007 Issue

Antiquarian Books from the 15th-17th Century from Milou Rare Books

La Chambre explains the nature of emotions.


Item 32 provides a look at inexpensive medicines in 1578. They may not have been worth the savings. The author of Haufsartzney was one Christophe Landre. Rather than buying expensive herbals, Landre recommends using items found around the house, or even in the street. As Milou explains, "Landre suggests uses for spider webs, cabbage stalks, eggshells, swallows' nests, spit, bugs, rotten wood, rotten snails, urine, ashes, the excreta of sundry barnyard animals, and most worrisome, 'shit off the street.'" It all sounded reasonable enough to me until he got to that last one. $2,800.

Robert Lovell was also up on the latest advances in medicine in 1665. His book is Enchiridion Botanicum. Or, a Compleat Herball, and it truly is a complete compendium of all imaginable diseases and their cures. Among the diseases he can cure, and you are unlikely to find cures for some of these anywhere else, are armeholes smell, braines commotion, pissings dropmeale, fundament stupidity, oblivion, and sphincter coldness. Actually, Lovell does not provide cures for all of these illnesses, but makes you buy another book of his to get the rest. He was a better marketer than physician. Item 36. $1,350.

Here is a book which deals with psychological rather than physical issues. It is the first English edition of The Characters of Passions by Marin La Chambre, translated from the original French. Le Chambre's belief was that there were primary emotions, such as grief, love, desire and hate, and all others were combinations of the primary emotions. Jealousy, for example, was a combination of love, hate, fear and despair. I guess it's hard to prove or disprove this theory. Item 31, published in 1650. $1,900.

You may reach Milou Rare Books online at www.miloubooks.net, or by phone at 512-453-1254.

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