Cultures of Plague: Medical Thinking at the End of the Renaissance

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9780199574025: Cultures of Plague: Medical Thinking at the End of the Renaissance

Cultures of Plague opens a new chapter in the history of medicine. Neither the plague nor the ideas it stimulated were static, fixed in a timeless Galenic vacuum over five centuries, as historians and scientists commonly assume. As plague evolved in its pathology, modes of transmission, and the social characteristics of its victims, so too did medical thinking about plague develop.

This study of plague imprints from academic medical treatises to plague poetry highlights the most feared and devastating epidemic of the sixteenth-century, one that threatened Italy top to toe from 1575 to 1578 and unleashed an avalanche of plague writing. From erudite definitions, remote causes, cures and recipes, physicians now directed their plague writings to the prince and discovered their most 'valiant remedies' in public health: strict segregation of the healthy and ill, cleaning streets and latrines, addressing the long-term causes of plague-poverty. Those outside the medical profession joined the chorus.

In the heartland of Counter-Reformation Italy, physicians along with those outside the profession questioned the foundations of Galenic and Renaissance medicine, even the role of God. Assaults on medieval and Renaissance medicine did not need to await the Protestant-Paracelsian alliance of seventeenth-century in northern Europe. Instead, creative forces planted by the pandemic of 1575-8 sowed seeds of doubt and unveiled new concerns and ideas within that supposedly most conservative form of medical writing, the plague tract.

Relying on health board statistics and dramatized with eyewitness descriptions of bizarre happenings, human misery, and suffering, these writers created the structure for plague classics of the eighteenth century, and by tracking the contagion's complex and crooked paths, they anticipated trends of nineteenth-century epidemiology.

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Review:

[A] brilliant study... Floating fascinating detail on relentless research, Samuel K. Cohn's Cultures of Plague is a tour de force. ( Lauro Martines, Times Literary Supplement)

A book of marvellous detail and range...superb ( William Poole, Times Higher Education Supplement)

[An] important contribution...This book is a model of scholarly endeavor: a significant and stimulating argument is informed by rich and detailed research and conveyed in energetic and engaging writing. An indispensable contribution to the field, it should be read by every scholar interested in early modern disease and health. ( Bulletin of the History of Medicine)

Cultures of the Plague offers an exhaustive and meticulous survey of plague writing in Renaissance Italy. The book's enduring value now surpassing that of Carlo Cipolla and earlier scholars of like eminence in the field. ( Ernest B. Gilman, Social History of Medicine.)

the book offers a stimulus to more research on the theme of plague, a fascinating topic already a very lively one among a broad range of historians of medicine, politics, religion, art, and literature. ( Thomas Worcester, Renaissance Quarterly)

with its careful reading of a great number of texts, this fascinating book lucidly demonstrates the need for a more nuanced approach to understanding the medical culture of the late sixteenth century and its response to change ... highly recommended ( James E. Shaw, English Historical Review)

About the Author:

BA. Union College (Schnectady, NY); MA. University of Wisconsin (Madison), 1972; Ph.D Harvard, 1978; Professor of Medieval History, University of Glasgow since 1995. Author of eleven books, including Women in the Streets (Johns Hopkins UP, 1996); Creating the Florentine State (Cambridge UP, 1999); The Black Death Transformed (Oxford UP, 2002); and Lust for Liberty (Harvard UP, 2006). In 2008 I was 'Distinguished Visiting Professor' at the University of California, Berkeley. I am a member of the Royal Historical Society, the selection panel for the European Research Council, the advisory boards of the Oxford UP Online Bibliographies for the Renaissance and Reformation and 'Medieval Memoria Online' (NE). I am married with two children, aged 10 and 12. I am a hill runner and won the World Stone skimming competition for the Easdale islanders in 2008.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 158 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Cultures of Plague opens a new chapter in the history of medicine. Neither the plague nor the ideas it stimulated were static, fixed in a timeless Galenic vacuum over five centuries, as historians and scientists commonly assume. As plague evolved in its pathology, modes of transmission, and the social characteristics of its victims, so too did medical thinking about plague develop. This study of plague imprints from academic medical treatises to plague poetry highlights the most feared and devastating epidemic of the sixteenth-century, one that threatened Italy top to toe from 1575 to 1578 and unleashed an avalanche of plague writing. From erudite definitions, remote causes, cures and recipes, physicians now directed their plague writings to the prince and discovered their most valiant remedies in public health: strict segregation of the healthy and ill, cleaning streets and latrines, addressing the long-term causes of plague-poverty. Those outside the medical profession joined the chorus. In the heartland of Counter-Reformation Italy, physicians along with those outside the profession questioned the foundations of Galenic and Renaissance medicine, even the role of God. Assaults on medieval and Renaissance medicine did not need to await the Protestant-Paracelsian alliance of seventeenth-century in northern Europe. Instead, creative forces planted by the pandemic of 1575-8 sowed seeds of doubt and unveiled new concerns and ideas within that supposedly most conservative form of medical writing, the plague tract. Relying on health board statistics and dramatized with eyewitness descriptions of bizarre happenings, human misery, and suffering, these writers created the structure for plague classics of the eighteenth century, and by tracking the contagion s complex and crooked paths, they anticipated trends of nineteenth-century epidemiology. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780199574025

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 158 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Cultures of Plague opens a new chapter in the history of medicine. Neither the plague nor the ideas it stimulated were static, fixed in a timeless Galenic vacuum over five centuries, as historians and scientists commonly assume. As plague evolved in its pathology, modes of transmission, and the social characteristics of its victims, so too did medical thinking about plague develop. This study of plague imprints from academic medical treatises to plague poetry highlights the most feared and devastating epidemic of the sixteenth-century, one that threatened Italy top to toe from 1575 to 1578 and unleashed an avalanche of plague writing. From erudite definitions, remote causes, cures and recipes, physicians now directed their plague writings to the prince and discovered their most valiant remedies in public health: strict segregation of the healthy and ill, cleaning streets and latrines, addressing the long-term causes of plague-poverty. Those outside the medical profession joined the chorus. In the heartland of Counter-Reformation Italy, physicians along with those outside the profession questioned the foundations of Galenic and Renaissance medicine, even the role of God. Assaults on medieval and Renaissance medicine did not need to await the Protestant-Paracelsian alliance of seventeenth-century in northern Europe. Instead, creative forces planted by the pandemic of 1575-8 sowed seeds of doubt and unveiled new concerns and ideas within that supposedly most conservative form of medical writing, the plague tract. Relying on health board statistics and dramatized with eyewitness descriptions of bizarre happenings, human misery, and suffering, these writers created the structure for plague classics of the eighteenth century, and by tracking the contagion s complex and crooked paths, they anticipated trends of nineteenth-century epidemiology. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780199574025

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