UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Lay Medical Culture and its English Critics c.1620 to c.1720

Goldbloom, Alexander; (2000) Lay Medical Culture and its English Critics c.1620 to c.1720. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

[thumbnail of U642319.pdf] Text

Download (12MB)


This thesis deals with the way in which lay medical culture was perceived by literate elites in seventeenth-century England. It seeks to reappraise an existing historical picture in which the growth of scientific rationalism is seen as leading to a growing divide between the mentalities and medical practices of elites and those of the rest of society. Rather than treating these two groups as polar opposites the thesis examines the means by which they interacted. This is chiefly based on an examination of commonplace books which, from the Renaissance onwards, were central to the way in which literate laymen and women recorded information both from printed and manuscript material and from talking with others. The introductory chapter looks at the various ways in which the meaning of words such as lay and vulgar was constructed by their users. Chapter 2 goes on to describe the manner in which commonplace books contributed to the vulgarisation of medical knowledge amongst private individuals, at a family level, within local communities, and beyond. Chapters 3 and 4 continue this theme by looking at the collection of material within the institutional context of first, the Hartlib Circle, and second, the Royal Society. In both cases, it is argued, the individuals concerned were motivated by an increased emphasis on simple empiricism (instead of textual dogmatism) and on public utility. Chapters 5 and 6 address the question of cultural bifurcation by considering criticism of lay medicine as a product both of a far wider political and theological debate over superstition and the place of the supernatural, and of a growing emphasis on gentility and taste.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Lay Medical Culture and its English Critics c.1620 to c.1720
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Scientific rationalism
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100172
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item