New Medical Challenges explores a wide range of social and medical practices, exposing the contradictions and ambiguities found in eighteenth-century Scottish health, science and medicine. The overall picture casts further light on the nature of the Enlightenment as a cultural phenomenon.
Commercial society created new jobs, wealth and desires, that threatened contemporary values and physical health. Both luxury and poverty took their toll, spawning disease among the affluent and the poor. A number of key issues are examined, including the role of charity, medical debates and competition, vivisection, and diseases of the time – such as ‘pulmonary consumption’, ‘mill reek’ and ‘ague’. Special chapters are devoted to ‘female troubles’, ‘hysteria’ and ‘hypochondriasis’, showing the evolving relationships across gender and class lines between poor patients and their physicians.
To place medical ideas and practices into proper context, the essays offer extensive background information and rediscover the lost voices of prominent physicians involved in promoting health and battling illness. Thanks to the richness of seldom-tapped archival sources – book manuscripts, consultation letters, hospital registration and management records, together with student essays, lecture notes and notebooks – the selected episodes expose a world of uncertainty, confusion and paradox.
New Medical Challenges tells a wide range of stories that will be of great interest to a broad readership concerned with past health issues.
An award-winning author,
Guenter B. Risse is Professor Emeritus of the History of Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. Both a physician and historian by training, he is a former President of the American Association for the History of Medicine.
”…upon final assessment,
New medical challenges is a real gem.” - in:
Medical History 51(2), April 2007, 250–251
“…there is much to be learned from all of the papers included […] and anyone interested in the period will profit from reading them.”
Journal of the History of Medicine, Vol. 62, October 2007
“…a stimulating series of essays…”
Social History of Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2007, 171-172
New Medical Challenges during the Scottish Enlightenment is a useful and interesting volume that deserves many readers.” in:
ISIS, Vol. 97, No. 4, 2006
“It is an important contribution to a social history of Scottish Enlightenment medicine, for here we can trace the debates within institutions, read the notes of anxious bedside physicians, follow disputes in diagnoses, and understand how matters of livelihood and rank, then as now, limited access to health care.”
Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2007, Vol. 81, No. 4, 867-868
Table of contents
Medical Institutions 1 For God and Country: Duties and Rewards of Charity at the Edinburgh Infirmary
2 Debates and Experiments: The Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh
3 The Royal Medical Society versus Campbell Donovan: Brunonianism, the Press, and the Medical Establishment
Health and Disease 4 In the Name of Hygieia and Hippocrates: A Quest for the Preservation of Health and Virtue
5 Ague in Eighteenth-Century Scotland? The Shifting Ecology of a Disease
6 ‘Mill Reek’ in Scotland: Construction and Management of Lead Poisoning
Medical Theory and Practice 7 Organising Knowledge and Making Clinical Decisions: Phthisis and Student-Selected Case Histories
8. Framing Gynaecology in Edinburgh: The Perplexing Nature of Women's Bodies
9 Mind-Body Enigma: Hysteria and Hypochondriasis at the Edinburgh Infirmary
Eighteenth-Century Medical Scotland: A Select Bibliography