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The period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment constitutes a vital phase in the history of European medicine. Elements of continuity with the classical and medieval past are evident in the persistence of a humoural-based view of the body and of illness. As the same time new theories of the body emerged to challenge established ideas in medical circles. In recent years, scholars have explored this terrain with increasingly fascinating results, often revising our previous understanding of issues relating to the way in which early modern Europeans discussed the body, health and disease. In order to understand these and related processes, historians are increasingly aware of the way in which every aspect of medical care and provision in early modern Europe was shaped by the social, religious, political and cultural concerns of the age. In this volume of original essays, established scholars in the social history of medicine explore these developments and provide a readily accessible overview of current thinking on a wide range of medical themes and topics. Chapters include detailed discussion of theories of the body, changing perceptions of disease, the measures used to combat epidemics, colonial and military medicine and the relationship between patients and practitioners. The book should appeal to students, teachers, health workers and the general reader who wishes to develop a cricial awareness of medicine in the past. The essays are complemented by a selection of primary and secondary readings in the companion volume "Health, Disease and Society 1500-1800: A Sourcebook".
Manchester University Press
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