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Category: 16th Century

Vesalius muscle figure

The First “Modern” Medical Book

Posted by: Michael North

Printed in Basel in 1543, Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica is considered to be the first "modern" medical book that emphasizes clinical observation over a dependence on ancient texts. The Library of Congress has recently digitized its copy of De Fabrica, which was part of the generous gift of Lessing J. Rosenwald to the nation.

Tantalizingly Incomplete: Charlotte Guillard and Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1546

Posted by: Marianna Stell

In 1546, Charlotte Guillard (ca. 1485–1557) owned one of the most prestigious printing houses in Paris, the Soleil d’Or, and that year she printed an impressive, updated edition of the letters of Saint Jerome under her own name. The editor and commentator of this particular book, however, was the famous Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1468?-1536), whose published annotations on Jerome had been censured by the Venetian Inquisition and the Index of the University of Paris two years prior.

Image of a lion with small objects and figures.

In Your Mind’s Eye: Strange Mental Architecture to Help You Remember

Posted by: Marianna Stell

Memory training was an important part of education in the Middle Ages. Borrowing from classical sources, medieval techniques offered elaborate and creative methods for memorizing lengthy works and speeches. The blockbook Ars memorandi, likely printed in Germany around 1470, offers a surprising lesson for those interested in the history of graphic design or mnemonic theory.