Doing the books

Dalrymple in this week’s Between the Lines column at BMJ:

The stage of life at which I desired more possessions is, thank goodness, now long past. On the whole I am content to be rather than to have—with one notable exception.

Antiquarian booksellers now send me their catalogues through the post, and last week I received two such. One was a joint production of two Parisian dealers and was itself a book of rare beauty. As soon as I opened it I realised that I had wasted my life completely and should have spent it in the singleminded pursuit of money so that I could have bought these wonderful medical books of the 15th and 16th centuries.

For example, there was Magnus Hundt’s Anthropologium de Hominis Dignitate, Natura et Proprietatibus, published in “Liptzick” (Leipzig) in 1501, with wonderful woodcuts of the pre-Vesalian notions of human anatomy—for £70 000…
Read the full column here (purchase required)

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