Publisher Information: London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1882.
Owen, Richard (1804-98). Experimental physiology: Its benefits to mankind with an address on unveiling the statue of William Harvey at Folkestone, 6th August 1881. vi, , 216pp. London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1882. 188 x 122 mm. Original cloth, light wear at extremities and corners, front cover a bit bubbled. Minor foxing but very good.
First Edition of an atypical historical medical work by Richard Owen, who, like Thomas Huxley, was trained in medicine. Besides his contributions to paleontology, Owen was the leading comparative anatomist of his time. Owen’s Experimental Physiology, an expanded version of his address delivered to commemorate the tercentenary of William Harvey’s birth, formed part of the heated debate over vivisection that erupted after the passage in 1876 of the Cruelty to Animals Act. The anti-vivisection forces in Britain condemned animal experimentation as both immoral and scientifically useless, and their many attacks against physiological researchers in the press had done much to influence public opinion on the subject. To counter these attacks, an International Medical Conference was organized in 1881 to coincide with the Harvey tercentenary, and Richard Owen, one of the IMC’s many illustrious participants, was asked to give a lecture at the unveiling of a new statue of William Harvey at Folkestone. “Owen delivered an address which turned out to be an uncompromising defence of the experimental method in physiological research and a sharply personal attack on its critics. It earned him much warm applause from the gathered crowd, and praise from his colleagues in letters and press reports . . . an enlarged version appeared the following year under the title Experimental Physiology: Its Benefits to Mankind” (Rupke, Richard Owen: Victorian Naturalist, p. 346). Owen expanded the printed version of his lecture to include not only the historical examples of Harvey and John Hunter, but also more recent instances such as Bell’s work on the sensorimotor nerves, Lister’s experiments with antiseptic surgery and the physiological research of Claude Bernard and Louis Pasteur. Garrison-Morton.com 14028.Book Id: 48899