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Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740

This morning over on Early Modern Medicine, Jennifer (@HistorianJen) and I were delighted to be able to announce that our book Maladies and Medicines: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 is now available to pre-order from a number of retailers. See our blog for links to some of the best pre-order offers. The book is out on 31 July this year. There will be lots of events to mark the launch of this book including a short film which we are making soon! Stay tuned for updates.


Some details of the book:


Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background against which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humours and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualized. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians to the itinerant healers who travelled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs. The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards and explanations of some of the most common diseases and medical conditions in the period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, cures ranged from herbal potions, cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood. Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors’ notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.

You can see the Jennifer here on Inside Versaille which airs on BBC2 discussing aphrodisiacs and reproductive health, available until 23 June (UK only).