Charles Estienne was a member of a distinguished family of printer-scholars. He studied medicine under Jacques Dubois (Sylvius), receiving his M.D. in 1540. Between 1544 and 1547 he was a lecturer of anatomy at the Faculty of Medicine, Paris. In 1551 he gave up medicine in order to devote himself to the family business. Imprisoned for debt in 1561, he spent the last two years of his life in jail. De dissectione is an example of sixteenth-century Parisian printing at its finest, and was undertaken by Estienne's stepfather Simon de Colines. The splendid woodcut illustrations, striking by virtue of their mannerist conceits and humorous touches, are fine works of art, several of them executed by Mercure Jollat, from drawings made by Estienne de la Rivière (Stephanus Riverius). But the anatomy they depict, based firmly on the Galenic tradition, makes them almost useless for purposes of anatomical instruction. Some of the illustrations were done as early as 1530, and the text was ready for publication in 1539. Publication, however, was delayed because of a lawsuit the author was engaged in against Estienne de la Rivière, who had sought an injunction to compel Estienne to display his name on the title page as co-author. The court eventually decided in favour of the illustrator, but the legal wrangling held back publication. Therefore, although Estienne's text was published after Vesalius's great work, it belongs to the pre-Vesalian tradition. It was translated into French in 1546, and contained two plates not included in the Latin edition. A facsimile edition was published in Paris in 1965.