Health & Healing In Eighteenth-Century Germany

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Overview

Although the physicians and surgeons of eighteenth-century Germany have attracted previous scholarly inquiry, little is known about their day-to-day activities—and even less about the ways in which those activities fit into the economic, political, and social structures of the time. In this groundbreaking work, Mary Lindemann brings together the scholarly traditions of the history of structures, mentalities, and everyday life to shed light on this complex relationship.

Opening with a discussion of the interplay of state and society in the independent German state of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, Lindemann explains how medical policy was "made" at all levels. She describes the striking array of healers active in the eighteenth century: from physicians to all those consulted in medical situations—friends and neighbors, executioners and barber-surgeons, bathmasters, midwives, and apothecaries. She surveys the available vital statistics and more personal narrative accounts, such as reports on the "Increase and Decrease of the Inhabitants," and medical topographies. Lindemann also examines the process of becoming a patient and explores the effects of the social, economic, political, and cultural milieus on how medicine was practiced in the everyday world of the village, the neighborhood, and the town.

Johns Hopkins University Press

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

History
Using historical sources, never applied so assiduously to the history of medicine, the author has offered insights and conclusions that will probably engage a generation of students... Historians of medicine may learn much from this volume, and the degree to which researchers respond to its challenges could well determine the future development of a broader interest in medical history.
History

Using historical sources, never applied so assiduously to the history of medicine, the author has offered insights and conclusions that will probably engage a generation of students... Historians of medicine may learn much from this volume, and the degree to which researchers respond to its challenges could well determine the future development of a broader interest in medical history.

Roy Porter
Mary Lindemann has built up,over the last decade,an enviable reputation as a social historian of Germany and as a historian of German medicine. Many scholars have been looking forward to a book-length account from her of medicine and health,doctors and patients,in eighteenth-century Germany,and the present [volume] . . . exceeds all reasonable expectations.
History
Using historical sources,never applied so assiduously to the history of medicine,the author has offered insights and conclusions that will probably engage a generation of students . . . Historians of medicine may learn much from this volume,and the degree to which researchers respond to its challenges could well determine the future development of a broader interest in medical history.
Herbert M. Swick
As suggested by its title, this book provides an account of medical practice in eighteenth-century Germany. The author has drawn on primary archival sources for her well-developed arguments and colorful examples. The book has two stated goals: to describe medical practice in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany, and from this ""to illuminate larger issues in German and European history."" The author examines the broad social and cultural context in which medicine was practiced and how the societal, political, and cultural milieu helped define perceptions of health and illness. Written principally for social and medical historians, the book will also be of interest to cultural anthropologists, physicians and those who simply wish to learn more about the breadth of individuals who practiced medicine in some guise, individuals ranging from academic physicians, midwives and barber surgeons to shepherds, charcoal burners, and executioners. The book is well annotated with an extensive footnotes and a comprehensive bibliography that will prove useful to readers wishing to pursue more information. Illustrations include occasional maps, showing the regions or villages in the area of northern Germany that formed the basis for this study, and contemporary prints showing various medical practices such as surgical procedures or the dispensing of medicines. The author effectively uses anecdotes, case reports, and eccentric details as well as tales of intrigue and conflict to convey a sense of life in eighteenth-century Germany. This book represents a major contribution to the growing body of work that relates medical practice to a broader social context. There has been less focus onthe medical and social history of Germany during this period than of other European countries, particularly England, France, and Italy. As the author argues, studying the history of medicine and health allows us to reevaluate what we know about the history of society. The book accomplishes this in a cogent, scholarly, and readable fashion.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Herbert M. Swick, MD(Institute of Medicine and Humanities)
Description: As suggested by its title, this book provides an account of medical practice in eighteenth-century Germany. The author has drawn on primary archival sources for her well-developed arguments and colorful examples.
Purpose: The book has two stated goals: to describe medical practice in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany, and from this "to illuminate larger issues in German and European history." The author examines the broad social and cultural context in which medicine was practiced and how the societal, political, and cultural milieu helped define perceptions of health and illness.
Audience: Written principally for social and medical historians, the book will also be of interest to cultural anthropologists, physicians and those who simply wish to learn more about the breadth of individuals who practiced medicine in some guise, individuals ranging from academic physicians, midwives and barber surgeons to shepherds, charcoal burners, and executioners.
Features: The book is well annotated with an extensive footnotes and a comprehensive bibliography that will prove useful to readers wishing to pursue more information. Illustrations include occasional maps, showing the regions or villages in the area of northern Germany that formed the basis for this study, and contemporary prints showing various medical practices such as surgical procedures or the dispensing of medicines. The author effectively uses anecdotes, case reports, and eccentric details as well as tales of intrigue and conflict to convey a sense of lifein eighteenth-century Germany.
Assessment: This book represents a major contribution to the growing body of work that relates medical practice to a broader social context. There has been less focus on the medical and social history of Germany during this period than of other European countries, particularly England, France, and Italy. As the author argues, studying the history of medicine and health allows us to reevaluate what we know about the history of society. The book accomplishes this in a cogent, scholarly, and readable fashion.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mary Lindemann is a professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the author of Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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