A Complete Physico-Medical and Chirurgical Treatise on the human eye

Catalogue Number: 618
A Complete Physico-Medical and Chirurgical Treatise on the human eye
Category: Book
Sub-Category: Book of historical note
Author: DEGRAVERS, Peter
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: Original 1788 Facsimile 1992
Edition: Facsimile of 2nd edition
Time Period: 18th C and earlier
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: New York
Publisher/Manufacturer: Gryphon Editions
Description Of Item: Original (1992) imitation leather with decorative gold embossing, 341 pages, frontispiece portrait and several plates. Enclosed is a 17 page pamphlet with useful notes on the author and the book
Historical Significance: Originally published 1788 in Edinburgh. This facsimile is produced in the The Classics of Ophthalmology Library series by Gryphon Editions. Degravers (dates unknown) was educated as a surgeon in Paris and settled in Edinburgh in 1780. He wrote 'Description de la vision' in 1776 and the first edition of this book in 1780. He was regarded as an outrageous quack by British surgeons but is known to have been an excellent surgeon who could successfully operate on cataract by extraction instead of couching. Jacques Daveil (1693-1762) had devised this technique in 1747 and Degraves being trained in France was no doubt aware of it. This book demonstrates a level of knowledge that is surprising since it was written 2 decades before Newton's 'Opticks'. Degraver gained notoriety when he offered to bring back to life a William Brodie, a convicted thief, after his execution in Edinburgh, a story that is the basis for Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' The notoriety of this matter, the death of his wife and debts caused Degravers to move to London after which little is known of him.
How Acquired: Purchased by Kett Museum (ABE books $50)
Date Acquired: Feb 2008
Condition: Fine
Location: Archive room. East wall. Books of historical note

Search the archive:

Author or Inventor:
Catalogue #
Name of Donor