By Wayne Wild

'Medicine-by-Post' is an interdisciplinary learn that may interact readers either within the historical past of medication and the eighteenth-century novel. The correspondence from the big inner most practices of James Jurin, George Cheyne, and William Cullen opens a distinct window at the medical professional sufferer courting in England and Scotland from this era. The letters, many formerly unpublished, exhibit a altering rhetoric that mirrors modern shifts in scientific idea and the patient's self-image. 'Medicine-by-Post' uncovers the suggestions of self-representation by way of either healers and sufferers, and reinterprets the that means of sickness and the scientific come upon in eighteenth-century literature within the mild of true-life adventure. the strain among the patient's own wishes and the doctor's specialist will offers a prepared metaphor for the novelist, depicting the social expectancies put upon the person in addition to a degree of one's ethical personality within the context of sickness. The correspondence additionally demonstrates the delicate adjustments in rhetoric concerning 'sensibility', reflecting evolving clinical hypothesis. It additionally describes the differing views of the feminine physique among medical professionals and novelists and the ladies sufferers themselves. but a lot of this correspondence exhibits an unforeseen mix of metaphor with a pragmatic and utilitarian method of healing suggestion and the patient's personal compliance. In those letters we find a few really sympathetic medical professionals. Contents checklist of Illustrations Acknowledgements advent 1 sufferers and their medical professionals in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Etiquette, Eclecticism, and Ethics 2 New technology Rhetoric in Medicine-by-Post: the personal perform Correspondence of Dr James Jurin three George Cheyne: a truly Public inner most surgeon four The Correspondence of Dr William Cullen: Scottish Enlightenment and New instructions in Medicine-by-Post five Literary purposes of Medicine-by-Post Bibliography Index

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Extra info for Medicine-by-Post: The Changing Voice of Illness in Eighteenth-Century British Consultation Letters and Literature (Clio Medica 79) (Clio Medica: the Wellcome Series in the History of Medicine)

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I yet cough much and sleep ill. 53 Johnson readily ignores both Lawrence’s recommendations and the ‘second opinion’ of a consulting physician in favour of his own nostrums. He frequently shows the empirical side of his medical philosophy, another 29 Wayne Wild manifestation of eclecticism. Of ‘alterative’ medicines – those which have no immediate effect but work, gradually, through altering the humours – Johnson says to Bennet Langdon, ‘My opinion... is not high, but quid tentasse nocebit? ’ This follows a detailed receipt of a medicine for the rheumatism that Johnson has tracked down for Bennet’s use.

Had a quite contrary Extreme in the common People; who ignorant and stupid in their Reflections as they were brutishly wicked and thoughtless before, were now led by their Fright to extremes of folly; and as I have said before, that they ran to Conjurers and Witches, and all Sorts of Deceivers,... So were they as mad upon running after Quacks, and Mountebanks, and every practicing old Woman, for Medicines and Remedies; storeing themselves with such Multitudes of Pills, potions, and Preservatives, as they were call’d; that they not only spent their Money but even poison’d themselves before-hand for fear of the Poison of Infection, and prepar’d their Bodies for the Plague, instead of preserving them against it.

47 Johnson wrote to the Reverend John Taylor that same year his opinion that ‘The quantity of blood taken from you appears to me not sufficient’, and that ‘Thrale was almost lost by the scrupulosity of his Physicians, who never bled him copiously till they bled him in despair... ’48 Yet in 1784, the year of his own death, Johnson had advised Taylor quite differently: Your general distemper is, I think, a hectic fever, for which the bark is proper, and which quietness of mind, and gentle exercise, and fresh air may cure.

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