There is an increasing tendency in the present day to make common property of special knowledge. Even such information as formerly belonged to certain professions alone is, at least in its rudiments, becoming more generally diffused; and on the part even of those professions the tendency is recognized as within reasonable bounds deserving of encouragement.
To take "the human body" as an illustration, medical men find that the useful feature of their art is facilitated by the dissemination of information regarding its structure and functions. On the other hand, the public daily see more and more clearly that "prevention is better than cure," and that to prevent derangements of the wonderful machine, with the guidance of which each individual is intrusted, more acquaintance with its mechanism and laws of normal action is indispensable. Apart from its utility, a knowledge of anatomy and physiology is gradually becoming a necessary part of a liberal education.
To meet these requirements the Publishers now present this translation from the French of a book which, in the original, has attained to great popularity. While sufficiently minute in anatomical and physiological details to satisfy those who desire to go deeper into such studies than many may deem necessary, this work is nevertheless written so that it may form part of the domestic library. Mothers and daughters may read it without being repelled or shocked; and the young will find their interest sustained by incidental digressions to more attractive matters. Such are the pages referring to phrenology and to music, which accompany the anatomical description of the skull and of the organs of voice; and the chapter on artistic expression which closes the book.
Attention may also be directed to the numerous accurate and also simple engravings, which have been introduced in the hope of elucidating the verbal descriptions in the text.