Almanac of Laparoscopic Surgery

The Almanac of Laparoscopic Surgery seeks to improve outcomes through publication of videos of cutting-edge and standard of care surgical procedures.


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"Vago già di cercar dentro e dintorno"
(Purgatorio, canto XXVIII)

 Issued annually as practical tools for readers, almanacs belong to an ancient tradition that precedes the invention of printing; furthermore, they represent one of the earliest ephemera that catches the attention of early modern printers between 15th and 16th century. Originally tied to the calendar and to astrological predictions, over the decades they progressively separate from these and, from "vehicles of false prejudices", they turn into "powerful means of education" (Braida 1997). In fact, since the 18th century, Enlightenment scholars, agronomists, and philanthropists act as almanac editors, sparking off a process of social emancipation that relies on these booklets as vehicles of practical knowledge. Some useful examples can be mentioned: the almanacs edited, overseas, by Benjamin Franklin, an almost legendary example of self-made man, as well as, in Italy, agricultural almanacs, aimed at making farmers and peasants aware of the most advanced agricultural techniques.

In the second half of the 19th century, almanacs become a vehicle for spreading, among the citizens of the new-born Kingdom of Italy, health precepts and medical principles that are perceived as essential for the progress of the country. The architect of this is Paolo Mantegazza, medical doctor in Milan, who dedicates his intellectual energies to dissemination (he edits the Almanacco Igienico Popolare [Popular Hygienic Almanac] from 1886 to 1905). Not by chance, in the English-speaking area and in the Netherlands, medicine has always been one of the main foci of almanacs. Similarly to what happened in Italy, in such countries early almanacs were connected to astrology, or even to the self-promotion of charlatans, but later become a popularisation tool holding an emancipatory value.

Between 19th and 20th century the tie linking almanacs and calendars progressively fades, by virtue of the social change, which makes urban readers less subject to the rhythm of nature; however, the term almanac remains a synonym for annual publication, and is also adopted by literary publications issued once a year. In conclusion, the word almanac remains in our culture, but the practical value of such publications, that have represented an indispensable means for the spreading of practical knowledge and for scientific dissemination over three centuries, is often forgotten.
(dott.ssa Elisa Marazzi, Università degli studi di Milano)

L. Braida, (1997), Gli almanacchi italiani settecenteschi. Da veicolo di “falsi pregiudizi” a “potente mezzo d’educazione”, in « Gli spazi del libro nell’Europa del XVIII », a cura di M.G. Tavoni e F. Waquet, Bologna, Patron, 1997, pp. 193-215.


Vol 1 (2019)

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Fabio Venuda