Many years ago an anthroposophic doctor expressed us during a conversation his disappointment at not being able to find somewhere one of the best, he said, treaties of homeopathic materia medica-that written by Alexis Espanet-, of which he could read only a few excerpts.
Although we were already interested in homeopathy, we had never heard that name before. So, right away we began the search for that unknown treaty. Finally, a library sent us a microfilm containing the Traité méthodique et pratique de matière médicale et de thérapeutique by Alexis Espanet.
First, we made photocopies, which we gave to the anthroposophic physician above; then, by means of the optical reading a technician drew a DOC file. In fact, in secret we aimed at making an Italian translation one might propose to a publisher...
Unfortunately, probably due to defects in the original copy, the DOC file turned out to be full of errors and marks of all kinds, and there were other problems as well. Moreover, since the not good conditions of that copy did not allow the photographer to open the book full, in a lot of photograms-more than half-the lines' end of the left-hand page and the beginning of the lines in the facing page were hidden by a dark column.
Although chagrined, we needed first and foremost to check the French text, word by word. We began this work in our spare time, but not with a will-we must admit!
Once the five-hundredth page reached, we noticed by chance that a PDF file of our Traité had been put on the Internet available to everyone. This time we were not only chagrined, but also disappointed. What to do? Throw in the trash all the work already done?
Well, after thinking a few minutes, we decided to complete the verification of the French text to put it, we too, on the web, available to all. For two reasons:
1. The PDF found on the Internet does not allow any search through the text, which is, however, essential for any homoeopath;
2. Since our free editions have been designed for a printing on A4 sheets, our Traité may be not only printed, but also bound, so as to obtain a nice book.
And now, a few comments on our issue:
1° To use the Table des matières and to enable the Reader to find a quote made by other authors, we have included in the text, in brackets, the pagination of the original edition; and to make the search easier, at the bottom of each of our pages, you find the number of the corresponding original page;
2° We have modernized the spelling of certain words: for example, Espanet always writes éternument, grangréneux, siége, etc., instead of éternuement, grangreneux, siège, etc. — Since he writes sometimes sphyncter, other times sphincter, we preferred the latter spelling. — Besides hydrémie with its derivatives you find also hydroém- and hydrohém-, but we have chosen the first. — Between hyperémie and hyperhémie, we have preferred hyperhémie according to the Dictionnaire de Médecine by É. Littré (161886). — Although the author uses both lienterie and lientérie, we always write lientérie. — Even if dysécie is more frequent than dysécée (preferred by Littré, though Espanet makes use of this spelling three times against eight), we opted for the latter.
3° On the other hand, we have not changed the words of the medical lexicon, which follow the etymological spelling, such as: aphthe, hémorrhagie, ophthalmie, phthisie, etc., with their derivatives;
4° We recall (v. supra, no. 1°) that the pages' numbers of the Table des matières refer to the pages of the original edition, not those of our new edition.
At last, although we no longer have the time to translate this splendid work of Espanet, we are nevertheless persuaded to have done a good turn to both homeopathy and all those who for some reason or other are passionate about.
© Franco Luigi Viero