Europe's Physician: The Various Life of Theodore de Mayerne

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Overview

Among the papers of Hugh Trevor-Roper, who died in 2003, was a manuscript to which he had repeatedly turned for more than thirty years, but never published.  Attracted by the diverse life and vivid personality of Sir Theodore de Mayerne (1573–1655), the most famous physician in Europe of his time, Trevor-Roper pursued him across national and intellectual frontiers to uncover the details of his extraordinary life. 
Exploring an array of English and European sources, Trevor-Roper reveals the story of the pioneering Swiss Huguenot doctor who mixed medicine with diplomacy, with political intrigue, with secret intelligence, and with artistic interests at the courts first of Henry IV of France and then of James I and Charles I of England. A true “renaissance man,” Mayerne’s interests were broad, and due to considerable conspiratorial talent, he became a participant in bluff and intrigue at the highest levels.
The most ambitious and perhaps the most original of all Trevor-Roper's books, written in his luminous prose, this is a major work of political and intellectual history that presents a whole period in a fresh and vivid light.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The celebrated English historian Trevor-Roper, bestselling author of The Last Days of Hitler, wrote relatively few books but many essays, nearly all about the Renaissance and the Reformation. After his death in 2003, a search of his papers uncovered this full-length manuscript, composed in the 1970s and worked on periodically thereafter; it has been diligently and sensitively edited by Blair Worden. Trevor-Roper, always fascinated by the intersection of medicine and politics, examines the life of Sir Theodore de Mayerne, personal physician to three kings Henry IV of France, James I and Charles I of England as well as secret agent and diplomat, chemist and alchemist. Trevor-Roper wrote this as a "layman's book," and it is less a detailed history of medicine than a portrait of a remarkable man in the still more remarkable social and intellectual world of the 17th century. Often remembered now for his overhurried "authentication" of the Hitler Diaries, an unfortunate error he was never allowed to forget, Trevor-Roper posthumously demonstrates his mastery as a historian, detective and narrative stylist. One hopes there are yet more unpublished manuscripts lurking among his papers, but if there are not, then this book stands as a fine capstone to a brilliant career. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300112634
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Hugh Trevor-Roper was Regius Professor of History at the University of Oxford. His many previous books include the bestselling biography of Sir Edmund Backhouse, The Hermit of Peking, and The Last Days of Hitler.

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