Surgery, Skin and Syphilis

Daniel Turner’s London (1667-1741)


Enlightenment London surgeon. Examining his personal, professional, and genteel achievements enhances our understanding of the boundary between surgeons and physicians in Enlightenment 'marketplace' practice. Turner's pioneering writing on skin disease, De Morbis Cutaneis, emphasizes the skin's role as a physical and professional boundary between university-educated physicians who treated internal disease and apprentice-trained surgeons relegated to the care of external disorders. Turner also argued that a pregnant woman's imagination could be transferred to her unborn child, imprinting its skin with various marks and deformities. This stance sparked a major pamphlet war between Turner and London physician James Blondel, raising this phenomenon from a folk belief to a chief concern of Enlightenment natural philosophy. Turner's career-long crusade against quackery and his voluminous writings on syphilis, a common 'surgical' disorder, provide a refined view into distinctions between orthodox and quack practices in 18th-Century London. Turner, long viewed as a pioneer in British dermatology, also holds the Anglo-American distinction of receiving a medical degree from Yale, the first such degree offered from Colonial America
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Review Quotes

”This is a well-researched and exceedingly informative book …” in: Social History of Medicine, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2001

Table of contents

Acknowledgements. List of Figures and Tables. Brief Chronology of Daniel Turner's Life and Writings. 1. Surgery in History. 2. Entering the Surgical Trade. 3. The Surgical Art. 4. Surgical Perspectives of the Body with a Special Focus on Skin. 5. A Culture of Reform. 6. Dispute over the Power of the Maternal Imagination. 7. Exposing the 'Secret Disease': Recognizing and Treating Syphilis. 8. Self-Styled Gentleman in London's Middle Class. 9. Aftermath. Appendix 1. Vernacular Surgical Treatises 1685-1745. Appendix 2. Constitution of the Benevolent Society for the Improvement of Chyrurgery, &c. (1704). Appendix 3. List of the Books Turner Gave to Yale College. Bibliography. Index.

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