Publisher Information: Pavia: 1808.
Concerning Publication of His Masterpiece on Hernias
Scarpa, Antonio (1747-1832). Autograph letter signed to [Francesco] Aglietti (1757-1836), in Italian. Pavia, 28 November 1808. 1 page, 258 x 191 mm., address on verso. Lightly creased where previously folded, small lacuna in upper margin repaired where seal was broken, but otherwise clean and fine. English translation accompanies.
Fascinating letter concerning the publication of Scarpa's great folio masterpiece on hernia, Sull'ernie (1809; Garrison-Morton 3583), from which come the eponyms "Scarpa's fascia" (creasteric fascia) and "Scarpa's triangle" (of the thigh); although the letter does not mention Sull'ernie by name, the date and content of the letter leave little doubt as to the identity of the work it discusses.
Scarpa spent much of the money he earned as professor of anatomy at Pavia to produce and print his magnificent anatomical works, which were illustrated with beautifully engraved plates prepared after Scarpa's drawings by his house artist, Faustino Anderloni. However, in 1808, the year before the publication of Sull'ernie, Scarpa found himself strapped for cash-probably due to the enormous amount of money he had spent on his Sull'aneurisma (1804), another lavishly illustrated folio, and was forced to solicit funds from friends and fellow medical men, including Aglietti, professor of practical medicine at the Venice Hospital.
In the present letter, which accompanied a copy of Sull'ernie for Aglietti's review, Scarpa alluded to the difficulty he had had in completing this work, and the financial predicament in which he found himself:
"I have incurred a major expense in completing this project. I must confess to you that I am still frightened by the expenses I had incurred for my last work on aneurysm. In order for me to avoid bankruptcy, I will need help from other professionals as associates to assist in publishing this project. I am also hoping to publish this work in separate fascicules at an affordable price." Scarpa went on to state that he had already asked "all my Italian friends" to be subscribers to Sull'ernie, and that "now I am asking you for the same favor. Since you are well respected as a professional and very well known in Venice, I believe that you would be the right person to encourage other surgeons, as well as other physicians, to join in the effort to publish my work."
At the foot of the letter is a list of persons and institutions, all of whom presumably received similar letters from Scarpa. Besides Aglietti, the list includes the names of Cesare Ruggieri (1768-1828), professor of practical surgery at the University of Padua; Francesco Pajola (1741-1816), the Venetian lithotomist; and the Pub. Societe di Medicina. DSB. Hirsch (Aglietti et al.). Monti / Lauria, Antonio Scarpa, pp. 67-68.Book Id: 6765