Medicine-by-Post: The Changing Voice of Illness in Eighteenth-Century British Consultation Letters and Literature - Clio Medica 79 (Hardback)Wayne Wild (author)
Hardback 286 Pages / Published: 01/01/2006
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Medicine-by-Post is an interdisciplinary study that will engage readers both in the history of medicine and the eighteenth-century novel. The correspondence from the large private practices of James Jurin, George Cheyne, and William Cullen opens a unique window on the doctor-patient relationship in England and Scotland from this period. The letters, many previously unpublished, reveal a changing rhetoric that mirrors contemporary shifts in medical theory and the patient's self-image. Medicine-by-Post uncovers the strategies of self-representation by both healers and patients, and reinterprets the meaning of illness and the medical encounter in eighteenth-century literature in the light of true-life experience. The tension between the patient's personal needs and the doctor's professional will presents a ready metaphor for the novelist, depicting the social expectations placed upon the individual as well as a measure of one's moral character in the context of illness. The correspondence also demonstrates the subtle changes in rhetoric regarding `sensibility', reflecting evolving medical speculation. It also describes the differing perspectives of the female body between doctors and novelists and the women patients themselves. Yet much of this correspondence shows an unexpected blend of metaphor with a realistic and utilitarian approach to therapeutic advice and the patient's own compliance. In these letters we discover some genuinely sympathetic doctors.
Number of pages: 286
Weight: 626 g
Dimensions: 230 x 155 mm
"The idea for this book was a fascinating one [...] Wild is genuinely engaged by the interplay between culture, medicine and literature of the period and has set out to present an inter-disciplinary study, attractive and useful." - in: Social History of Medicine 20 (2007), pp. 652-654 "In this scholarly, interdisciplinary study, Wayne Wild provides a valuable analysis of the shifting rhetorical styles that typically characterized epistolary exchanges between eighteenth-century physicians and their patients.... His engaging study will be of value to medical historians concerned with the rhetoric of illness as well as to literary scholars engaged with medical culture and the body." - in: Bulletin of the History of Medicine 82/2 (2008), pp. 446-447 "Wild's study of medical correspondence is engaging and thought-provoking... Medicine-by-post greatly adds to our understanding of this aspect of medical practice." - in: Medical History 52/2 (2008), pp. 294-295 "Wayne Wild's book is, as its title proclaims, about the practice of postal consultation and treatment... considerable attention given to analysing the rhetoric utilised by the physicians whose correspondence is reviewed... the copious notes provided, defining terms and expanding on points made in the text, as well as providing bibliographic references, are very welcome." - in: Wellcome History 41 (2009), 19
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