The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

November 11, 2016

November 11, 1493

There is at Glasgow University Library, a set of materials relating to the empirically oriented Swiss researcher Paracelsus. This pioneering physician and occultist, was born, it has been argued, November 11, 1493. He died September 24, 1541. Below is a picture by him, in which he finds a feline chimera a helpful description. It may even be a self-portrait.

The following description of the resources at this institution is interesting:

Outside the Ferguson collection there are only five works by Paracelsus in the Library, none of which was acquired before the nineteenth century. In 1807 the arrival of William Hunter's library brought three 16th century editions, the Chirurgia magna and Chirurgia minor (Strassburg, 1573) and the Fasciculus Paracelsicae medicinae (Frankfurt am Main, 1581). A copy of the Opera omnia (Geneva, 1658) was acquired for the Medical Library in 1812 and the English Paracelsus his Archidoxes (London, 1661) came with the John Veitch collection in 1895.

This catalogue describes all the pre-1800 separately published editions of works by or ascribed to Paracelsus preserved in the Library. It therefore excludes items included in anthologies along with other authors. It is divided into three sections dealing with 1. Collected works, 2. Smaller collections of two or more works, and 3. Single works. Within these sections entries are arranged alphabetically by the title proper (omitting prefixed author statements) of the earliest edition, followed, chronologically by subsequent editions of that text in whatever language. To facilitate the location of items, a complementary chronological index ia also provided. 

In the book where Paracelsus lays out his philosophies, The Defensiones, translated in the volume Four Treatises of Theophrastus Von Hohenheim Called Paracelsus (1941) we read:
"[I]f a person is afflicted with an illness from cat's brain, the medicine should be such that it kills the cat's brain..."  Which might make sense.

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