Background: For 35 years, Claude Bernard recorded his ideas and experimental results in notebooks, often leaving pages blank to remind himself to return to a certain research subject or an unresolved problem. Not all notebook entries found their way into publications. For example, he never intended that his 'red notebook' (cahier rouge) should be published. This document of some 200 pages and 35 drawings, which reveals so much of Bernard's line of thought was only transliterated in 1942 by Leon Delhoume, and then translated into English 25 years later when its importance was acknowledged.
Similarly, the Principes de Médecine Expérimentale, of which Bernard intended his 'Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine' to be the first section, was collated and published by Delhoume only in 1947. Many unpublished documents reside in different archives; cataloguing them was achieved by Mirko Grmek only 90 years after Bernard died, in 1967. That catalogue represents an essential tool for any researcher (see: Books and Articles about Bernard).
Claude Bernard's published output was prolific by any standard: some 250 journal articles, fifty books and other published documents contain his research findings, ideas, concepts, lectures and reviews. He committed his thoughts - about work, science, society and philosophy - to paper personally. On the other hand, his research and lecture material was often recorded by assistants (tr: préparateurs). Their drafts were then reviewed and modified by Bernard before being submitted for presentation or publication. Excellent experience for his assistants, of course, but as was the practice at that time, names of co-workers or co-authors were often not acknowledged; his name mostly stands alone.
Bernard's research findings did not find their way into scientific journals in quite the same way that they do today. His original findings were briefly presented at meetings of learned societies such as the Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Medicine, or the Society of Biology (of which Bernard himself was co-founder). They were then published in that society's proceedings (comptes rendus). Comments on these presentations were made verbally at a later meeting, and were published in subsequent issues of the relevant comptes rendus.
Contemporary researchers will be particularly frustrated by the brevity and largely descriptive nature of many articles, often supported by little data. This approach would be unacceptable to the reviewers of today's submissions. Perhaps the incomplete provision of data prompted the vigorous challenges that (for example) Bouillaud levelled against Bernard over many years on the subject of body heat generation - or Figuier on the existence of glycogen. The detailed results which supported Bernard's conclusions were often published only years later, as a review or as Mémoire or Leçon.
Access: After an initial section which deals with Bernard's books, theses and other commissioned and published documents, his articles are listed chronologically. The full (digitized or microfiched) texts of almost all his publications are fortunately available on the websites of the Bibliothèque Nationale (BnF), Colisciences/CNRS and the Bibliothèque Inter-Universitaire de Médicine et Odontologie (BIUM), as well as the Max Planck Institute (Berlin). We have provided direct links to all available texts, and the procedure for access is provided at the head of each listing.
Books and articles whose full texts are not available through the Internet are available in the following libraries:
....click here to access the 112 publications at the BnF (Bn-Opale plus) in Paris. [Click 'se reconnecter'. Enter 'Bernard, Claude' in the search field, click the line entry for the 112 documents, and then finally click 'voir les notices' to scan the list.]
....click here to access the list of 90 publications at the BIUM (Paris). [Enter 'Bernard Claude' in the search box to identify the documents held by that library.]
....click here to access the list of 73 publications available at the Wellcome Library, London, UK.
....click here to access the list of 77 publications held at the U.S National Library of Medicine, in Washington, USA.
The final bibliography section consists of books and articles about Bernard. Grmek listed almost 500 that were published before 1967, and readers are referred to his publication. As far as we are aware, no-one has published a more recent list. The references to material about Bernard and his work that we provide on this website have been selected as being of above-average interest: in each case a short description will hopefully guide the reader.
Looking beyond: For those who wish to purchase any out-of-print copies of books by and about Bernard, we recommend the following international mail-order booksellers' websites: ABEBOOKS, LIVRE-RARE-BOOK, ILAB and ALIBRIS.
Finally, we would be grateful if visitors to this site would notify us of any broken full text links, using the contact form. These links can then be readily mended for the benefit of others.