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November 7, 1953

A Translation of Luigi Galvani's De viribus electricitatis in motu musculari commentarius. Commentary on the Effect of Electricity on Muscular Motion

JAMA. 1953;153(10):989. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940270095033

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Abstract

Galvani's account of his pioneer experiments in electrophysiology was published in Latin in 1791 and subsequently translated into Italian, German, and French. According to the preface, however, this is the first appearance of the work in English. It is desirable that Galvani's own account be made more widely available to students in this way, for the modest and straightforward manner in which he set forth these epochmaking facts makes one deplore the pressures that necessitate the publicity-conscious maneuvering with which scientific discoveries, real and fancied, are announced today. Another timely feature of the book is Pupilli's biographical introduction, for it records Galvani's conflict with the politicians of the Cisalpine Republic that had been created by Napoleon and the consequent poverty of the last days of Galvani's life.

The difficulties of rendering the complex sentences of the original Latin into readable English have been met expertly by the translator; the supplementary

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