Books and journal articles


1.  Oeuvre de Claude Bernard (1881) [FR] Renan E, Bert, P, Moreau A, Baillière, Paris, 400p. Important material for those researching his life and work. Historian, philosopher and friend to CB, Ernest Renan reviews Bernard the man. Bernard's student, later colleague and friend Paul Bert critically analyses his research. There is an invaluable alphabetical subject index of Bernard's 'leçons' by de la Coudraie (p.95), and a descriptive bibliography by Malloizel itemizing the content of each of his published articles etc (p. 337).  [full text] 

2.  Catalogue des Manuscrits de Claude Bernard (1967) [FR] Grmek MD, Masson et Cie, Paris, 419p. A massive, essential reference to Bernard's work by this outstanding medical historian. A major section itemizes the content of 20 series of notebooks and 15 series of loose sheets, and there is a bibliography of his publications as well as the books and articles written about him. A further chronology relates each year of his research activity to the relevant section of his notebooks. 

3.  Claude Bernard - physiologist (1938) [EN] Olmsted JMD, Harper and Brothers, New York, 272p  A good biographical introduction by a man who was both professor of physiology (California) and a medical historian. Contains some interesting images.

4.  Claude Bernard - and the experimental method in medicine (1952) [EN] Olmsted JMD and Olmsted EH, Henry Schuman, New York, 277p.  A revised updated biography, with a better chronological layout than its predecessor above.

5.  Claude Bernard, 1992) [FR] Debray-Ritzen P, Albin Michel, Paris, 235p. A well-written biography summarizing both his professional and personal life.

6.  Le Legs de Claude Bernard (1997) [FR] Grmek MD, Fayard, Paris, 439p. This is one of Grmek's last publications, clearly describing each major domain of Bernard's work, and its contemporary relevance.  

7.  Claude Bernard and Experimental Medicine (1967) [EN] Grande M and Visscher MB, Schenkman Publishing Company, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 210p plus supplement.  A good summary of Bernard's work, particularly two chapters on the 'milieu intérieur'. The supplement is the Hoff/Guillemin English translation of the Cahier Rouge.

8.  Claude Bernard - and his place in the history of ideas (1960) [EN] Virtanen R,  University of Nebraska Press, 156p. A useful book, summarizing Bernard's philosophical reasoning and its relevance to more contemporary thought.

9.  Claude Bernard and Animal Chemistry (1974) [EN]  Holmes FL, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 541p. An excellent, deep biochemical analysis of Bernard's work on nutrition, digestion, pancreatic function and sugar metabolism. The discursive style will not be to everyone's liking.

10.  Claude Bernard (1899) [EN] Foster M, Fisher Unwin, London, 238p. An early, short but excellent summary of Bernard's life and work. 

11. Claude Bernard, Chapter 4 in Notice Historique sur Saint-Julien (1923) [FR]  Duplain L, Audin et Cie, Lyon. 282p. This book was written by l'Abbé Duplain, curé of St Julien in the first two decades of the 20th century. Its interest lies in the personal historical aspects of Bernard's early life.

12. Claude Bernard - l'aventure scientifique (1945) [FR]  Millet R, Editions de la Nouvelle France, Paris, 312p. This is an interesting biography, perhaps with undue emphasis on the historical period in which Bernard lived.

13. Claude Bernard (1889) [FR]  Barral G, Bibliotheque Gillon, Verviers, Belgium, 121p This biography is interesting because it was written by George Barral, son of a scientist colleague of Bernard. It was to him that Bernard entrusted the posthumous publication of Arthur de Bretagne. Barral's preface commented on Bernard's marital life: his widow subsequently won a court action to have remaining copies of this edition confiscated (see ref 19) .      

14. Claude Bernard (1941) [FR] Mauriac P, Editions Bernard Grasset, Paris.158p. This short biography is full of interesting observations about Bernard's life and work. The book has been sometimes criticized for expressing some negative views of Bernard.

15. Raisonnement experimental et recherches toxicologiques chez Claude Bernard. (1973) [FR] Grmek MD, Librairie Droz, Geneve-paris, 475p.  This detailed analysis of Bernard's work on poisons (especially strychnine, curare and carbon monoxide). Essential reading for those with an interest in this area. The first 65 pages are also an excellent introduction to his scientific principles.

16. Claude Bernard - la revolution physiologique (1990) [FR] Prochiantz A, Presses Universitaires de France, 124p. This is a very thoughtful precis of Bernard's work, with an excellent section dealing with the milieu interieur. 

17. The Philosophy of Claude Bernard, Chapter 5 in The Cretaive Mind, (1965) [EN] Bergson H, Littlefield, Adams, New Jersey, 252p.  Bergson was an eminent philosopher. In this, his last published work, he outlines his view of Bernard's thought and its contribution to philosophical ideas.

18. Claude Bernard - father of experimental medicine. (1968) [EN] Tarshis J, The Dial Press, New York, 171p. This is an easily read biography for those with little scientific background.

19. El Pensamiento Vivo de Claude Bernard (1944) [SP] Pi-Sunyer J, Editorial Losada, Buenos Aires, 206p. An excellent and thoughtful biography in Spanish.

20. l'Affaire Claude Bernard, Chapter 5 in Veuves Abusives (1936), [FR] de Monzie A, Bernard Grasset, Paris, 236p.  The disputes between Bernard and his wife are well known. This chapter deals with the issue of the posthumous publication of his 'Arthur de Bretagne' by his friend Georges Barral, who dared to make the disputes public in its preface.

21. Claudio Bernard: Introduzione allo studio della medicina sperimentale (1951): [IT] Vernoni G, (translation Ghiretti), Universale Economica, Milano, 2 vols. Italian translation of Bernard's ISEM.

22. La necessité de Claude Bernard. (1991) [FR], Colloquium held in St Julien December 1989. Jacques Michel (Direction) Paris, Méridiens Klincksieck, 317p. A recent publication in which a variety of authors examine in depth important concepts, including Bernard's positivism, and the 'milieu intérieur'  (with its relationship to homeostasis and Bernard's role in the development of the internal-secretion concept). There is an entertaining comparison of the academic status of Bernard  and Pasteur, in which the Bernardian historian Mirko Grmek makes his views clearly known!

23. Le souvenir de Claude Bernard dans le région lyonnaise. [FR] Jean Lacassagne, 1952. Albums du Crocodile, 200  Année, Novembre-Decembre, 1952, 44p. see 24 below.

24. Les reliques de Claude Bernard. [FR] Justin Godart. Editions Publirex, Villefranche, 52p. This and the preceding booklet are interesting records of Bernard's broader life in the Beaujolais, Godart's document with photographs.

25. Hommes de Verité. [FR]  Jean Rostand, 1968. Éditions Stock, Paris, 303p. This excellent book provides a thoughtful biography of Bernard, with additional biographies of two of his friends, Louis Pasteur and Casimir Davaine.

26. Claude Bernard - Rationalité d'une Méthode [FR]  Pierre Gendron, 1992, Librairie Philosophique VRIN,, 148p. This document  is a doctoral thesis of the Québecois philosophical scientist, Pierre Gendron. It contains concise summaries of Bernard's  major contributions. The chapter on experimental determinism is perhaps the best.

27.  Claude Bernard: idée et importance de ses travaux, de son enseignement et de sa méthode, [FR] Louis Pasteur, Le Moniteur universel, n° 311, 7 novembre 1866. An appreciation of Bernard's scientific contributions written by Pasteur, while his colleague and friend was recovering from illness in his Beaujolais home.

28.  From Friedrich Wöhler’s Urine to Eduard Buchner’s Alcohol. [EN] 1997. Friedmann, H (reprinted from 'New Beer in an Old Bottle': Eduard Buchner and the growth of biochemical knowledge, p67-122, ed: A Cornish-Bowden, Universitad de Valencia, Spain)   [full text]  A recent objective assessment of the contrasting (and contradictory) roles of Bernard and Pasteur in the exploration of fermentation. Buechners final statement on the matter is placed in perspective.

29.  Claude Bernard: founder of the paradigm. See p35-53 in: Brute Science: dilemmas of animal experimentation (1996), 286p by Hugh LaFollette and Niall Shanks. An important appraisal of Bernard's provocative stand on vivisection. This chapter is ideally read in the context of the entire book.


1.  Do We Understand Claude Bernard? (1958/9), [EN] Kourilski G, Oxford Medical School Gazette, 1958,10: 105-112 and 1959,11: 31-36. A very personal interpretation of Bernard's scientific and philosophical contributions.

2.  The Thought of Claude Bernard (1966), [EN] Kahane E, American Institute of Marxist Studies, Occasional paper No. 3 (translated by Chovnick and Prebus) 24p.   Another very personal view of Bernard's work, seen from the viewpoint of an eminent chemist from the University of Montpellier. 

3.  Dessins Inédits de Claude Bernard (1962), [FR}, Binet L and Sonolet J, Histoire de la Médecine, 12: 1-8.  Bernard drew both for his work (doodles of his thoughts for experiments) and for his pleasure (a type of caricature). Other drawings can be found in his 'Cahier Rouge'. J S was curator of the CB Museum.

4.  Pasteur et Claude Bernard (1895), [FR] Cabanès A, La Revue des Revues, 214-221. An excellent analysis of  Bernard's relationship with Pasteur, particularly in the context of their research on alcoholic fermentation.

5.  La conception de la maladie et de la santé chez Claude Bernard (1964). [FR] Grmek, M, L'Aventure de la Science (Mélanges Koyre, vol1) Vol 1 Hermann, Paris p 208-227. This article/chapter and the one that follows below are important analyses of Bernard's approach and attitude towards clinical medicine, by a man who made a life study of Bernard's life and work.

6.  Réflexions Inédits de Claude Bernard sur la Médecine Pratique (1963), [FR] Grmek M, Médecine de France, 150: 6-11. See comment above.   

7.  Claude Bernard's 'Introduction': A Review (1962), [EN] Hoff HE, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 36:177-181. Hoff was one of the translators of the Cahier Rouge, and a student of Bernard's work. This is a personal evaluation of Bernard's most important publication.

8.  Claude Bernard par Pierre Mauriac (1947), [FR] Izquierdo JJ, Revue canadienne de Biologie, 6: 808-814. Izquierdo was a Mexican physiologist and medical historian. In this article, he examines the (sometimes critical) view of Bernard which Mauriac expressed in his book (see Books: item 14 above).

9.  Notes et Souvenirs sur Claude Bernard  (1882), [FR] Jousset de Bellesme G-L, Revue internationales des sciences biologiques, t.10: no.5; 433-461. The author was a personal friend of Bernard's, particularly during the latter period of his life. This commentary makes interesting reading.

10. D'Arsonval and Claude Bernard (1935), [EN] Kobak D and Blech GM, Archives of Physical Therapy, 16:239-243. D'Arsonval was Bernard's last préparateur. Perhaps influenced by Bernard, he declined his father's wish that he should practice clinical medicine. Stimulated by his master's ideas, he subsequently worked with Milne-Edwards (Bernard's successor at the Collège) on testicular extracts. However, his major contribution was to electro-medical and electro-physiological research - hence this paper.

11. Du déterminisme de Claude Bernard (1878). [FR], Littré E, Revue de la philosophie positive, 20: 5-11. Bernard was much influenced by Littré.  The latter (who stopped his medical studies in order to think and write) was a disciple and proponent of Comte's positivism. Their meeting resulted in a period (of questionable length) of positivist thinking for Bernard. This is Littré's view of Bernard's next philosophic move to determinism, written in the year of his death.

12. Claude Bernard (1951) [EN] Mayer J, The Journal of Nutrition, 45: 3-19.  Mayer was a physiologist and nutritionist with a major interest in glucose metabolism. This is a mini-review of Bernard's life and work.

13. Claude Bernard: a dramatist (1935) [EN]. Olmsted  JMD Ann Med History. 7:235-260.  Olmsted (see Books, above) was a historian interested in all aspects of Bernard's life, including his creative writing.

14. Nouvelle communication au sujet des notes sur le fermentation alcoolique, trouvée dans les papiers de Claude Bernard (1878), [FR] Pasteur L, C R Acad. Sci. 87: 185-188. This key paper was Pasteur's denigration of Bernard's posthumously-discovered refutation of his theory (see Epilogue to biography).

15. Claude Bernard: Idée de l'importance de ses travaux, de son enseignement et de sa méthode. (1866), [FR] Pasteur L. Le Moniteur Universel, No. 311 7th Novembre: 1284-1285, reprinted in Vie Medicale (1922) 3: 1516-1520. Written in 'better' times than 14 (above) , this was Pasteur's almost hero-worshipping appraisal of Bernard's work, when the latter was recovering from illness - physical and moral - in his St Julien retreat.

16. Testament de Claude Bernard (1878), [FR] Raffalovich M, Journal de St Petersbourg., 27th April, 2nd May and 10th May. Madame R was Bernard's sounding board, translator and friend, a French correspondent for this journal. This is her tribute to Bernard.

17. Claude Bernard et la statistique (1963) [FR] Schiller J, Arch Internat Hist Sci. t. 16: 405-418. Bernard was known to be sceptical about statistics. This is an evaluation of those attitudes.

18. Vascular catheterization in the 19th century: Claude Bernard's studies on animal heat (1964) [EN] Siegel RE, Surgery, 55: 595-601. Bernard was arguably the pioneer of blood vessel catheterization, and in doing so identified (amongst other important facts) the source of animal heat and the origins and fate of blood glucose. This is an interesting appraisal of his findings.

19. Nouvelles données sur les relations amicales et scientifiques entre Claude Bernard et Davaine (1958) [FR]. Sonolet J and Theodorides J,  Histoire de la Médecine, 8: 41-51. Davaine was Bernard's closest friend in the second half of his life, and they worked together on several projects.

20. Claude Bernard: pioneer of the second biomedical revolution (2001) [EN] Conti F, Nature Reviews (Molec Biol) 2: 703-707.  A rare modern view of Bernard's work and its relevance to contemporary science.

21.  Animal experimentation: the legacy of Claude Bernard [EN], 1994, LaFollette H and Shanks N, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, pp. 195-210 (Full text)  An important paper which examines in depth the arguments - both supportive and critical - of animal experimentation. The authors' conclusions  are however negative!

22.  Glycogenia - the secretion of sugar in the human economy (1855) [EN] Henry B. Medical Examiner, vol 11, 713-723. [full text] An excellent review by an Americal student who worked with Bernard in 1854.  The author describes the controversy about CB's portal vein/glucose experiments. The findings and opinions of Figuier and the conclusions of the Academy of Sciences commission on the matter are well explained.