The surgical handbook known as Feldtbuch der Wundarzney by the Strasburgian field surgeon Johannes (Hans) von Gersdorff is one of the first medical texts printed in the High German language area. During the Early Modern Age this text enjoyed great popularity as witnessed by the high number of editions which followed the first one (Strasburg, Schott, 1517): four in quarto (Strasburg 1524 and 1540) and two in folio (Strasburg 1542 and Frankfurt am Main 1551). In addition to these, the Feldtbuch was also translated both into Latin (Strasburg 1542 and Frankfurt 1551) and into Dutch (Amsterdam 1593, 1622 and 1651). Fragments of the surgical field manual can also be found in late manuscript collections of medical and surgical texts, such as Copenhagen GKS 1663 4°, Copenhagen Thott 253 and Luzern Pp 27 4°. Particularly interesting for the study of the text tradition and diffusion in Europe is Copenhagen 1663 4°, which contains, on leaves 1r-86v, a large portion of a Low German version of the surgical handbook. A systematic comparison of the Low German text with its High German source - most likely the first, 1517 Strasburg edition - has shown that the Low German translator’s way of dealing with the text is far from being linear. If, on the one hand, a series of thematic chapters from the High German text are ordered randomly and only operative indications and recipes for the preparations of single medicaments are faithfully reproduced, whereas introductory considerations and discursive passages are usually left out or taken for granted, on the other, a series of prescriptions in the manuscript do not find any correspondence in the High German handbook. This is particularly evident towards the end of the fragment (from fol. 63v onwards), even though some heterologous material has been inserted within the translation of the text as well. Some of these additions and insertions can be considered properly surgical, since they provide indications about the diagnosis and the cure of pathologies which can be treated with one of the three kinds of operations Guy de Chauliac lists in his Chirurgia magna: operations to loose what is contained, to join what is separated, to cut off what is too much. Others, on the other hand, can be rather described as purely medical or hygienic (sanitary) indications (e.g. against stinking feet). In this study, I take into consideration these, non surgical additions to the High German surgery manual, trying to understand why such non-specialized considerations should have been considered interesting by a scribe, who, as his rendering of the High German source clearly shows, was certainly an expert in the field.

The Field Surgery Manual Which Became a Medical Commonplace Book: Hans von Gersdorff's Feldtbuch der Wundarzney (1517) Translated into Low German

BENATI, CHIARA
2017-01-01

Abstract

The surgical handbook known as Feldtbuch der Wundarzney by the Strasburgian field surgeon Johannes (Hans) von Gersdorff is one of the first medical texts printed in the High German language area. During the Early Modern Age this text enjoyed great popularity as witnessed by the high number of editions which followed the first one (Strasburg, Schott, 1517): four in quarto (Strasburg 1524 and 1540) and two in folio (Strasburg 1542 and Frankfurt am Main 1551). In addition to these, the Feldtbuch was also translated both into Latin (Strasburg 1542 and Frankfurt 1551) and into Dutch (Amsterdam 1593, 1622 and 1651). Fragments of the surgical field manual can also be found in late manuscript collections of medical and surgical texts, such as Copenhagen GKS 1663 4°, Copenhagen Thott 253 and Luzern Pp 27 4°. Particularly interesting for the study of the text tradition and diffusion in Europe is Copenhagen 1663 4°, which contains, on leaves 1r-86v, a large portion of a Low German version of the surgical handbook. A systematic comparison of the Low German text with its High German source - most likely the first, 1517 Strasburg edition - has shown that the Low German translator’s way of dealing with the text is far from being linear. If, on the one hand, a series of thematic chapters from the High German text are ordered randomly and only operative indications and recipes for the preparations of single medicaments are faithfully reproduced, whereas introductory considerations and discursive passages are usually left out or taken for granted, on the other, a series of prescriptions in the manuscript do not find any correspondence in the High German handbook. This is particularly evident towards the end of the fragment (from fol. 63v onwards), even though some heterologous material has been inserted within the translation of the text as well. Some of these additions and insertions can be considered properly surgical, since they provide indications about the diagnosis and the cure of pathologies which can be treated with one of the three kinds of operations Guy de Chauliac lists in his Chirurgia magna: operations to loose what is contained, to join what is separated, to cut off what is too much. Others, on the other hand, can be rather described as purely medical or hygienic (sanitary) indications (e.g. against stinking feet). In this study, I take into consideration these, non surgical additions to the High German surgery manual, trying to understand why such non-specialized considerations should have been considered interesting by a scribe, who, as his rendering of the High German source clearly shows, was certainly an expert in the field.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/861155
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