Item of the Day: Voltaire’s Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733) and Bell’s Operative Surgery (1816)

Full Title:

Letters Concerning the English Nation.

Written by Mr. de Voltaire. Contains preface, contents, publisher’s advertisments, “A letter concerning the burning of Altena, as related in the Hisory of Charles XII, King of Sweden,” and index. This translation, often attributed to John Lockman, was published before the French edition. Voltaire’s picture of English life, observed during his two year stay, was of great popular appeal. In this work first appeared the famous anecdote of Newton and the falling apple. Harcourt Brown has argued that more than half of the book was in fact written by Voltaire in English and rewritten by him in French for the French editions. The letters which Brown suggests were written in English (numbers 1-8, 10, 12, 18, 19, 21, and 22) deal predominantly with Voltaire’s personal experiences and observations in England, with literature — Bacon, Swift, Butler, Pope, Waller, Rochester, and the dramatists — and with aspects of public life of his day. The book created such a scandal that it was soon condemned and copies burned by the hangman in June, 1734. A warrant was issued against Voltaire but he succeeded in escaping. Printed in London for C. Davis and A. Lyon, 1733.


Full Title:

A System of Operative Surgery, Founded on the Basis of Anatomy. In Two Volumes. The Second American, from the last London Edition.

Written by Charles Bell, Surgeon of the Middlesex Hospital; Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Royal College of Surgeons, of Edinburgh; Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of London; Associate of other Learned Bodies; and Reader of Anatomy in the Chair. Two volumes, second edition. Contains preface, contents, introduction, illustrations, plates, “Recommendations ” of this work, preface dated London, 1814. “Of Gunshot Wounds” was first published as part of the second edition of the present work, London, 1814. It was later published separately in the same year “for the accomodation of the purchasers of the former edition” under the title, “A dissertation on gun-shot wounds.” Published in Hartford by George Goodwin and Sons, 1816.


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Filed under 1730's, 1810's, Medicine, Philosophy, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

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