Syllabus [SciRev Fall 2008]

For the Week of 10/1/08

Assignment 5

Vesalius, Servetus, Harvey, Galileo


HarveyŐs Circulation (circle-u-lation) of the Blood

Read Koestler (Galileo) pp. 431-470. 39pp

Read this whole chatper (pp. 54-73): Debus-Harvey_Chapter-3.7MB.pdf.  This is an overview of anatomy and physiology and should put things in better perspective. 19pp

Look at this PDF of excerpts from VesaliusŐ De humani corporis fabrica [On the fabric of the human body] from 1543.


Read specifically the following:  (be aware that descriptions of plates generally precede the plates)


PDF pp. 7-11 and follow along with the pictures.

                Here is a higer resolution jpeg of the frontispiece from the 1543 edition:

                             Vesalius-1543-frontis.jpg – 1.4MB

PDF pp. 16-17

PDF pp. 25-26

PDF pp. 35-37 (identify all the tools if you can)

PDF pp. 72-75

PDF pp. 100-101 which describes the Galenic system of spirits (I apologize for not including plate 72).

Read over a few more that grab your attention.

Read chapters VIII-IX (PDF pp. 24-28) and XIII-XIV (PDF pp. 34-40) of HarveyŐs Anatomical Exercises on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals (Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus, often referred to simply as De motu cordis) first published in 1628. I personally think that this book has some of the most convincing arguments in the history of science.  For a souped up assignment you could read other parts. 10pp


Write: Choose from the followingÉ


            Option A: Write an essay of appropriate length that dissects and analyses chapters VIII-IX from the Harvey reading above.  Discuss quantification as a method of doing and proving scientific theory and extract his quantified data and make it more readable by making it into a chart, or graph, or table or similar format.  Diagrams such as cross sections of arteries or veins or cylindrical volumes or heart cavities may be useful.


            Option B: Write an essay of appropriate length that dissects and analyses chapters XIII-XIV.  Do as Harvey instructs and reproduce these demonstrations.  Draw them up or augment the illustrations from the reading or better yet, take photographs from your own arm or the arm of somebody willing to have you do this to them.  Discuss how valves make these arguments work and support a circulatory theory.  [Students in the past have taken photographs of these experiments with excellent results.]



Feel free to riff on either of these options by using modern sources.  Why might I think that these arguments are convincing?  What makes them believable or unbelievable?  Feel free to disagree with me.  Being convinced by an argument is a personal experience and not subject to evaluation.


Souped-up essays could analyze more parts from the Harvey and/or Vesalius and use some of the supplementary material from the citations below.  These souped-up essays should merge the sources into a coherent whole and not just be separate essay-ettes forced to live on the same page. An expanded experimental documented using photographs could be also be done. Or you might have an altogether different idea.  Engage (and cite).


Partial Bibliography- Items in bold are in the eLibrary.  If a link is dead, let me know.  I havenŐt transferred all of this stuff to, but it is still up on my old site and the old links ought to work. 



Ceglia, Francesco de. "Rotten Corpses, a Disembowelled Woman, Flayed Man. Images of the Body from the End of the 17th  to the Beginning of the 19th  Century. Florentine Wax Models in the First-Hand Accounts of Visitors." Perspectives on Science 14 (2006): 417-456.  Ceglia-RottenCorpsesDisembowelledWomen-460KB.pdf


Debus, Allen G. Man and Nature in the Renaissance. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Debus-Harvey_Chapter-3.7MB.pdf.


Boas, Marie. The Scientific Renaissance, 1450-1630. Vol. II The Rise of Modern Science, ed. A. Rupert Hall. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1962.


Jardine, Lisa. Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution: Anchor Books, 2000. Excerpt on extensions of Harvy-esque techniques. Jardin_IngeniousPursuitExcerpt-Beyond_Harvey-988KB.pdf  This reading is short and rather morbid.


Farber, Eduard. "The Color of Venous Blood." Isis 45, no. 1 (1954): pp. 3-9. Farber_ColorofBlood-228KB.pdf


Ferrari, Giovanna. "Public Anatomy Lessons and the Carnival: The Anatomy Theatre of Bologna." Past and Present, no. 117 (1987): 50-106.  Ferrari-Public_Anatomy_Carnival_Bologna-6MB.pdf


Fleming, Donald. "Galen on the Motions of the Blood in the Heart and Lungs." Isis 46, no. 1 (1955): pp. 14-21. Fleming_GalenBloodmotioninheartlungs-296KB.pdf


________. "William Harvey and the Pulmonary Circulation." Isis 46, no. 4 (1955): pp. 319-327. Fleming_HarveyandPulmonaryCirculation-340KB.pdf


Gorham, Geoffrey. "Mind-Body Dualism and the Harvey-Descartes Controversy." Journal of the History of Ideas 55, no. 2 (1994): 211-234. Gorham_Mind-BodyHarvey-Descartes-800KB.pdf


Harvey, William. "On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals (De Motu Cordis)." In Scientific Papers; Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology, with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations, 91 pp. New York: P. F. Collier & son, Internet Edition from Modern History Sourcebook, Fordham University, 1901, 1st Latin ed. from 1628. Harvey_DeMotuCordis-1.7MB.pdf


Hill, Christopher. "William Harvey and the Idea of Monarchy." Past and Present 27 (1964): pp. 54-72. Hill_HarveyandMonarchy-506KB.pdf


________. "William Harvey (No Parliamentarian, No Heretic) and the Idea of Monarchy." Past and Present 31 (1965): pp. 97-103.  Hill_HarveyNoHereticMonarchy-189KB.pdf


Kemp, Martin. "Dissection and Divinity in Leonardo's Late Anatomies." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 35 (1972): 200-225. Kemp-Dissection_Leonardo_Late_Anatomies-8.1MB.pdf


Messbarger, Rebecca. "Waxing Poetic: Anna Morandi Manzolini's Anatomical Sculptures." Configurations 9 (2001): 65-97.  Messbarger-WaxingPoetic-Manzolini-256KB.pdf 


Park, Katharine. "The Criminal and the Saintly Body: Autopsy and Dissection in Renaissance Italy." Renaissance Quarterly 47, no. 1 (1994): 1-33.  Park-Criminal-Saintly_Body-Autopsy-Dissection-3.5MB.pdf


Pagel, Walter. "William Harvey: Some Neglected Aspects of Medical History." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 7 (1944): pp. 144-153. Pagel_HarveyNeglectedMedHistory.pdf [472 KB]


Plochmann, George Kimball. "William Harvey and His Methods." Studies in the Renaissance 10 (1963): 192-210.  Plochmann_HarveyandHisMethods-576KB.pdf


Servetus, Michael, and Charles Donald O'Malley. Michael Servetus, a Translation of His Geographical, Medical, and Astrological Writings. Philadelphia,: American Philosophical Society, 1953. Servetus-OMalleyTrans120-7.7MB.pdf This has the specific English translation of the lesser circulation passage and several other interesting parts.


Servetus, Michael, and Angel Alcal‡. Restituci—n Del Cristianismo. Translated by Angel Alcala y Luis Betes Publicaciones De La Fundaci—n Universitaria Espa–ola. Cl‡sicos Olvidados ; 3. Madrid: Fundaci—n Universitaria Espa–ola, 1980. Servetus_RestitutionDeChrist72-16.9MB.pdf  Excerpts. This PDF is in Spanish and is of pretty poor quality, but it has lots of material. 


Siraisi, Nancy G. "Some Current Trends in the Study of Renaissance Medicine." Renaissance Quarterly 37, no. 4 (1984): 585-600.  Siraisi_Trends_Renaissance_medicine-452KB.pdf 


Siraisi, Nancy G. "The Music of Pulse in the Writings of Italian Academic Physicians (Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries)." Speculum: A Journal of Mediaeval Studies 50, no. 4 (1975): 689-710. Siraisi-Music_of_the_Pulse-ben_Luca-780KB.pdf


Siraisi, Nancy G. "Vesalius and the Reading of Galen's Teleology." Renaissance Quarterly 50, no. 1 (1997): 1-37. Siraisi-Vesalius_reading_Galen-1MB.pdf


Vesalius: This is an excellent web site that keeps getting bigger, put out by Northwestern University.  This has full translations of most if not all of De Humani Corporis Fabrica.  This would make an excellent source for a souped up homework.  [You have to click on those little triangles to get access to the links to the translations of the various parts.  The interface is a bit opaque.]


Wilson, Luke. "William Harvey's Prelectiones: The Performance of the Body in the Renaissance Theater of Anatomy." Representations, no. 17 (1987): 62-95.  Wilson_Harvey_Body_Theater_of_Anatomy1.2MB.pdf 

Detail from Plate 89 from our Vesalius readingÉ from the Tabulae sex (1538).

The rete mirable was the organ that Galen proposed that actually doesnŐt exist in the human body.

From VesaliusŐ De Fabrica (woodcuts by Calcar)

The original skull cap. Perhaps Giovanna (Caterina) used this for her love potion.


From HarveyŐs De motu cordisÉ (1st ed. in Latin printed in 1628)

WhatŐs wrong with this picture?

Made by Clemente Susini (1754 - 1814); wax

La Specola, University of Florence

[?] with the anatomist Paolo Mascagni (1752 - 1815)


In this one, also by Susini, the lid comes off.



If you want to do an assignment on these creepy wax anatomical models

see the Ceglia and the Messbarger articles above.  Also of interest might be the Park, Ferrari and the Wilson.

Review Materials: posted 10/11/08






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