Visions: A study of false sight. (Pseudopia). With an introduction and memorial sketch by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company, 1878
8vo. xxii, 315 pp. plus front Original rust-coloured publisher's cloth with brown end-papers; a fine copy. $150.00
First edition of Clarke's (1820-77) final work, a study of hallucinations and visions, and their causes. It contains an interesting study of the effects of drugs such as quinine, digitalis, opium, Indian Hemp (hashish), ether and alcohol on vision, as well as the influence of disease and volition. Clarke details a case communicated to him by the neurologist and novelist S. Weir Mitchell, one of the most prominent physicians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Oliver Wendell Holmes edited the work after Clarke's death, writing a memorial sketch and biographical introduction.
A friend and classmate of Holmes at Harvard, Clarke succeeded Jacob Bigelow as Professor of Materia Medica there, a post he held for twenty years. He wrote this book in his last days, Holmes rendering frequent visits to assist the dying author. Clarke's other works include, Practical Medicine, The building of the brain, and various articles for the New American Cyclopaedia. His most widely read work was the one that sparked much controversy, Sex in Education, or a Fair Chance for the Girls. It appeared at the height of the pressure for co-education at Harvard, and went through seventeen editions in the space of a few years. Clarke reviewed the medical theories of female nature -- the innate frailty of women, the brain-uterus competition, and concluded, with startling but unassailable logic, that higher education would cause womens' uteruses to atrophy.
BAL 8926; Crabtree 1004; Wozniak 1992 no. 55. 8vo, xxii, 6-315pp; NSTC, III, nstc0143812