Purkinje's Vision: The Dawning of Neuroscience

By Nicholas J. Wade; Josef Brožek et al. | Go to book overview

4
Observations and Experiments on the Physiology of the Senses. Contributions to the
Knowledge of Vision in its Subjective Aspect

A translation of Purkinje's first book on subjective visual phenomena is given in this chapter. As indicated on the title pages opposite, the book was published first in 1819 and then reprinted with a slightly longer title in 1823 and this version was included in the first volume of his Opera Omnia published in 1918, and in the Opera Selecta of 1948. The translation here is based on the reprinted editions of the book. All the figures were originally printed on a single plate at the end of the book (see Fig. 3.2) but they are presented here at the locations corresponding to the text describing them with the figure number for this chapter in [square] brackets following the original figure numbers.

It is surprising that a book defining an area of enquiry has not been translated into English. The surprise is even greater when one considers that Purkinje himself was considering having translations made in the 1820s. In a letter to J. Schmid, written in 1826, he wrote “I wanted to draft a concise overview of my existing work on subjective vision, and you were to prepare its translations into English and French, so that it would be better known in those countries” (Kruta, 1964b, p. 173). Unfortunately, the pressure of work prevented Purkinje from preparing the overview, and so the present translation might be considered as supplying that want. In his eighth decade Purkinje wrote “I have conceived a plan for continuing [the series] by a third volume entitled Psychology of Vision for which I still have

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