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Galen is the most important physician of the Roman imperial era. Many of his theories and practices were the basis for medical knowledge for centuries after his death and some practices—like checking a patient’s pulse—are still used today. He also left a vast corpus of writings which makes up a full one-eighth of all surviving ancient Greek literature. Through her readings of hundreds of Galen’s case histories, Susan P. Mattern presents the first systematic investigation of Galen’s clinical practice. Galen’s patient narratives illuminate fascinating interplay among the craft of healing, social class, professional competition, ethnicity, and gender. Mattern describes the public, competitive, and masculine nature of medicine among the urban elite and analyzes the relationship between clinical practice and power in the Roman household. She also finds that although Galen is usually perceived as self-absorbed and self-promoting, his writings reveal him as sensitive to the patient’s history, symptoms, perceptions, and even words. Examining his professional interactions in the context of the world in which he lived and practiced, Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing provides a fresh perspective on a foundational figure in medicine and valuable insight into how doctors thought about their patients and their practice in the ancient world.
Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age
As scholars debate the most appropriate way to teach evolutionary theory, Constance Clark provides an intriguing reflection on similar debates in the not-too-distant past. Set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, God—or Gorilla explores the efforts of biologists to explain evolution to a confused and conflicted public during the 1920s. Focusing on the use of images and popularization, Clark shows how scientists and anti-evolutionists deployed schematics, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and paintings to win the battle for public acceptance. She uses representative illustrations and popular media accounts of the struggle to reveal how concepts of evolutionary theory changed as they were presented to, and absorbed into, popular culture. Engagingly written and deftly argued, God—or Gorilla offers original insights into the role of images in communicating—and miscommunicating—scientific ideas to the lay public.
Late in the summer of 1880, a wave of odors emanated from the sewers of Paris. As the stench lingered, outraged residents feared that the foul air would breed an epidemic. Fifteen years later—when the City of Light was in the grips of another Great Stink—the landscape of health and disease had changed dramatically. Parisians held their noses and protested, but this time few feared that the odors would spread disease. Historian David S. Barnes examines the birth of a new microbe-centered science of public health during the 1880s and 1890s, when the germ theory of disease burst into public consciousness. Tracing a series of developments in French science, medicine, politics, and culture, Barnes reveals how the science and practice of public health changed during the heyday of the Bacteriological Revolution. Despite its many innovations, however, the new science of germs did not entirely sweep away the older "sanitarian" view of public health. The longstanding conviction that disease could be traced to filthy people, places, and substances remained strong, even as it was translated into the language of bacteriology. Ultimately, the attitudes of physicians and the French public were shaped by political struggles between republicans and the clergy, by aggressive efforts to educate and "civilize" the peasantry, and by long-term shifts in the public's ability to tolerate the odor of bodily substances. This fascinating study sheds new light on the scientific and social factors that continue to influence the public's lingering uncertainty over how disease can—and cannot—be spread.
From Miltown to Prozac
Valium. Paxil. Prozac. Prescribed by the millions each year, these medications have been hailed as wonder drugs and vilified as numbing and addictive crutches. Where did this “blockbuster drug” phenomenon come from? What factors led to the mass acceptance of tranquilizers and antidepressants? And how has their widespread use affected American culture? David Herzberg addresses these questions by tracing the rise of psychiatric medicines, from Miltown in the 1950s to Valium in the 1970s to Prozac in the 1990s. The result is more than a story of doctors and patients. From bare-knuckled marketing campaigns to political activism by feminists and antidrug warriors, the fate of psychopharmacology has been intimately wrapped up in the broader currents of modern American history. Beginning with the emergence of a medical marketplace for psychoactive drugs in the postwar consumer culture, Herzberg traces how “happy pills” became embroiled in Cold War gender battles and the explosive politics of the “war against drugs”—and how feminists brought the two issues together in a dramatic campaign against Valium addiction in the 1970s. A final look at antidepressants shows that even the Prozac phenomenon owed as much to commerce and culture as to scientific wizardry. With a barrage of “ask your doctor about” advertisements competing for attention with shocking news of drug company malfeasance, Happy Pills is an invaluable look at how the commercialization of medicine has transformed American culture since the end of World War II.
A Middle English Translation of the Pharmaceutical Writings of Gilbertus Anglicus
Originally composed in Latin by Gilbertus Anglicus (Gilbert the Englishman), his Compendium of Medicine was a primary text of the medical revolution in thirteenth-century Europe. Composed mainly of medicinal recipes, it offered advice on diagnosis, medicinal preparation, and prognosis. In the fifteenth-century it was translated into Middle English to accommodate a widening audience for learning and medical “secrets.”
Faye Marie Getz provides a critical edition of the Middle English text, with an extensive introduction to the learned, practical, and social components of medieval medicine and a summary of the text in modern English. Getz also draws on both the Latin and Middle English texts to create an extensive glossary of little-known Middle English pharmaceutical and medical vocabulary.
This volume is a collection of chapters that deal with issues of health, hygiene and eugenics in Southeastern Europe to 1945, specifically, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Romania. Its major concern is to examine the transfer of medical ideas to society via local, national and international agencies and to show in how far developments in public health, preventive medicine, social hygiene, welfare, gender relations and eugenics followed a regional pattern. This volume provides insights into a region that has to date been marginal to scholarship of the social history of medicine.
Putting the Past Back In
A major, path-breaking work, History, Medicine, and the Traditions of Renaissance Learning is Nancy G. Siraisi's examination into the intersections of medically trained authors and history in the period 1450 to 1650. Rather than studying medicine and history as separate disciplinary traditions, Siraisi calls attention to their mutual interaction in the rapidly changing world of Renaissance erudition. Far from their contributions being a mere footnote in the historical record, medical writers had extensive involvement in the reading, production, and shaping of historical knowledge during this important period. With remarkably detailed scholarship, Siraisi investigates doctors' efforts to explore the legacies handed down to them from ancient medical and anatomical writings and the difficult reconciliations this required between the authority of the ancient world and the discoveries of the modern. She also studies the ways in which sixteenth-century medical authors wrote history, both in their own medical texts and in more general historical works. In the course of her study, Siraisi finds that what allowed medical writers to become so fully engaged in the writing of history was their general humanistic background, their experience of history through the field of medicine's past, and the tools that the writing of history offered to the development of a rapidly evolving profession. Nancy G. Siraisi is one of the preeminent scholars of medieval and Renaissance intellectual history, specializing in medicine and science. Now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a 2008 winner of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, she has written numerous books, including Taddeo Alderotti and His Pupils (Princeton, 1981), which won the American Association for the History of Medicine William H. Welch Medal; Avicenna in Renaissance Italy (Princeton, 1987); The Clock and the Mirror (Princeton, 1997); and the widely used textbook Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine (Chicago, 1990), which won the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize from the History of Science Society. In 2003 Siraisi received the History of Science Society's George Sarton Medal, in 2004 she received the Paul Oskar Kristellar Award for Lifetime Achievement of the Renaissance Society of America, and in 2005 she was awarded the American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction. "A fascinating study of Renaissance physicians as avid readers and enthusiastic writers of all kinds of history: from case narratives and medical biographies to archaeological and environmental histories. In this wide-ranging book, Nancy Siraisi demonstrates the deep links between the medical and the humanistic disciplines in early modern Europe." ---Katharine Park, Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University "This is a salient but little explored aspect of Renaissance humanism, and there is no doubt that Siraisi has succeeded in throwing light onto a vast subject. The scholarship is wide-ranging and profound, and breaks new ground. The choice of examples is fascinating, and it puts Renaissance documents into a new context. This is a major book, well written, richly learned and with further implications for more than students of medical history." ---Vivian Nutton, Professor, The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London, and author of From Democedes to Harvey: Studies in the History of Medicine "Siraisi shows the many-dimensioned overlaps and interactions between medicine and 'history' in the early modern period, marking a pioneering effort to survey a neglected discipline. Her book follows the changing usage of the classical term 'history' both as empiricism and as a kind of scholarship in the Renaissance before its more modern analytical and critical applications. It is a marvel of erudition in an area insufficiently studied." ---Donald R. Kelley, Emeritus James Westfall Thompson Professor of History, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and Executive Editor of Journal of the History of Ideas