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August 15, 1977

An Anatomical Disputation Concerning the Movement of the Heart and Blood in Living Creatures

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1977;238(7):630. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280070070035

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William Harvey's book, demonstrating the circulation of the blood (1628), is probably the most important medical text ever published. Written in Latin, it has been several times translated into English, most recently in 1957 by Kenneth Franklin. He provided a good translation and also included in his book the original Latin, so that readers who had adequate Latin could compare his rendition with the original.

Translation is a difficult task. How literal should a rendition be? How much freedom is allowable? How much paraphrase? How can we deal with specific words of technical import whose meaning has changed over the centuries? To what degree can we keep both the spirit and the letter of the original and yet provide an idiomatic rendition into a different language?

Franklin's translation is by no means perfect, and Gweneth Whitteridge, who had devoted many years to the close study of Harvey's thought and language,