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The English Vernacular Afterlife of Benvenutus Grassus, Ophthalmologist1

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This paper traces the history in print of a treatise on ophthalmology by Benvenutus Grassus, De probatissima arte oculorum, originally written in Latin in the late thirteenth century and translated into English in the fifteenth century. It presents evidence of the appearance in print of the English translation as a section of Philip Barrough's The Method of Phisicke in 1583, a book that went through ten subsequent reprintings, the last appearing in 1652. Other evidence is presented on the influence of Benvenutus' treatise in ophthalmological works published in the earlier half of the seventeenth century, and both greater and lesser traces are shown to exist. The last appearance of the treatise is in an auctioneer's catalogue of 1713, where apparently the book failed to find a buyer.

Affiliations: 1: University of Ottawa


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