Memoirs on Paris Hospitals
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Tenon, Jacques, 1996, xxxiii + 407pp, illus., Dora Weiner, ed.
This book introduces the English-speaking readers to Jacques Tenon's memoirs, a classic text of the French enlightenment. The memoirs remained the basic reference work for hospital reformers and architects in France for over half a century.
Tenon had chosen hospital reform as his life's main purpose, and he became the moving force behind the hospital committee's effort to replace and disperse the hotel-Dieu. Tenon presented his memoirs to the academy of science as he completed each one, but published them together in 1788. In his preface he defined his goal to discover, describe and propose the most suitable, efficient and cost-effective hospital buildings for Paris. Tenon's preface spells out all the difficulties and their solution, so that the general reader also can grasp the issues.
Tenon's work is a pioneering study of the hospital from the perspectives of urban topography, architecture, provisioning, medical and nursing care, hygiene, safety, economics and administration. The memoirs are written in a style appealing to the general intelligent reader. This translation strives to transmit the style and tone of French masterwork dating from an age that raised the fundamental issues for our times.