L'Oemologie. Estienne DUFAUG.
L'Oemologie
L'Oemologie
L'Oemologie
L'Oemologie
L'Oemologie
L'Oemologie
L'Oemologie
One of the Strangest French Plague Books, Printed by Marguerite de Molinier.

L'Oemologie

Only edition of this genuinely odd manual on the nature, prevention, and treatment of plague, composed by the largely forgotten Rabastens physician Estienne Dufaug, and printed by Marguerite de Molinier, at the height of one of the worst outbreaks of plague in southern France. Rabastens, a small town a few miles northeast of Toulouse, was greatly affected by the outbreak, and the populace turned to extremely occult methods in an effort to understand and handle the outbreak. In 39 short chapters, Dufaug records, and recommends many of these measures, all of which amount to a sorcerer's pharmacopoeia and recipe book. We find recipes for preparations of powdered unicorn horn, rendered and purified snake fat, dried and pulverized toad, hazelnuts filled with silver powder, a wide variety of wines admixed with obscure medicaments, scorpion oil, calcified deer horn, thistles doused in holy water, and even a ritualistic process by which live pigeons are slit open and their innards used to anoint the feet of the diseased. A significant portion of the text is taken up with speculation on the astrological causes of the outbreak. But among the desperate exposition are flourishes of common sense, especially with regard to public health. Dufaug suggests burying the dead far from populated areas, and even suggests staying far away from crowds, and adopting this as municipal policy: On doit fuir les assemblées. C'est pourquoi les Magistrats sont très-bien de deffendre les danses publiques, bains, escholes, foires et marchez. (p. 69). A most remarkable witness to the effects of an unmanageable pandemic, almost hopeless in tone, composed by a physician practicing in the thick of it all, and printed by a woman whose husband had died of plague two years before. Two copies, both defective, located in institutional libraries; none in the Americas.


Full title: L'OEMOLOGIE, | OV SONT ESCLAIRCIES | PLVSIEVRS DIFFICVLTEZ | touchant la Nature, Pre- | ſeruation, & Curation de la peſte. || PAR M. ESTIENNE DVFAVG | Docteur en Medecine, Habitant | de Rabeſtans. || [Woodcut ornament] || A TOLOSE, | Par la Vefue de I. Colomiez, Imprimeur | ordinaire du Roy, & de l'Vniuer- | ſité deuant S. Orens. | [Rule] | M. DC. XXX.

Toulouse: Marguerite de Molinier, 1630.

Octavo, 177 x 124 x 15 mm (binding), 174 x 121 x 12 mm (text block). A-Q4; 125, [3] pp. Full modern sheepskin, text block sewn on five raised bands, spine titled in gilt in second compartment: DUFAUG | DE | LA PESTE; marbled ends and doublures, original free ends bound in. Slight wear to extremities. Interior: Title somewhat soiled, especially at tail margin; finger-soiling throughout; some dog-ears; a few tiny mends to tail fore-corners (not near text). Margins a bit precious, the binder's plough having touched the headlines on a half-dozen leaves at end.

Not in Krivatsky or any other salient bibliography. See N. Joly's discussion of Henri Moliner's copy of l'Oemologie in the Mémoires de l'Académie des sciences inscriptions et belles-lettres de Toulouse, fifth series, vol. III, Toulouse: Douladoure frères, 1859, pp. 317-26.

Item #234

Price: $6,500.00

Status: On Hold

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