Publisher Information: Louvain: In officina typographica Gerardi Rivii, 1608.
Fienus, Thomas (1567-1631). De viribus imaginationis tractatus. 8vo. , 200pp. Louvain: In officina typographica Gerardi Rivii, 1608. 167 x 104 mm. Old vellum, rebacked preserving portion of spine, endpapers renewed. Worming in lower margin of first four leaves, not affecting text, but very good otherwise.
First Edition. Fienus’s treatise deals with the physiological or psychosomatic effects of the imagination on the body. Working within the psychological framework established by Thomas Aquinas, who identified imagination as one of the four apprehensive powers of the sensory soul, Fienus posited that the imagination exerted its influence indirectly on the body via the emotions:
"The imagination is fitted by nature to move the appetite and excite the emotions, as is obvious, since by thinking happy things we rejoice, by thinking of sad things we fear and are sad, and all emotions follow previous thought. But the emotions are greatly alterative with respect to the body. . . . Since the imagination produces change by means of the emotions and the emotions produce change by means of the natural movement of the heart and by means of the movement of the humors and the spirits, the imagination does also" (quoted in Brown, p. 42).
Fienus believed that maternal imagination influenced the developing fetus, an argument he illustrated with 32 case histories, but denied that there was any relation between the human soul and the stars.
A native of Antwerp, Fienus received his medical training in Louvain and in Italy, where he studied under Girolamo Mercuriale, Ulisse Aldrovande and other prominent Italian physicians. He was appointed professor of medicine at Louvain in 1593, remaining there until his death nearly 40 years later. He was the author of several medical treatises, including three works on embryology and one on cautery; he also wrote a book on the comet of 1618. Brown, “Descartes, dualism, and psychosomatic medicine,” in The Anatomy of Madness, ed. Bynum, Porter and Shepherd, pp. 40-62.Book Id: 41647