University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

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Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBarnsley
PublisherPen & Sword
ISBN (Electronic)978 1 47387 573 9
ISBN (Print)978 1 47387 571 5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2017

Abstract

Maladies and Medicine in Early Modernity, 1540-1740 offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background against which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humors and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualized. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians to the itinerant healers who travelled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs. The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards and explanations of some of the most common diseases and medical conditions in the period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, cures ranged from herbal potions, cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood. Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors’ notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.

Notes

Jennifer Evans and Sara Read, 'Maladies and Medicines: Exploring Health and Healing 1540-1740' (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2017), ISBN: 978 1 47387 571 5, eISBN: 978 1 47387 573 9

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