Abstract

Memoirs by physician-writers are typically analyzed for what they disclose about the emotional journey of medical training and practice. We can also read many of these memoirs as manifestos for the reform of medicine. Consider the work of the physician, historian, and writer Victoria Sweet. Sweet engages Hildegard of Bingen, as a practitioner of humoral medicine, to construct a proposal for a renewed medicine in which physicians would have dual roles, consider the seasons and cycles of time, and be like wise gardeners. Sweet’s proposal is attractive, but it does not account for significant differences between her own genre and Hildegard’s.

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