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Surgeon "turned" physician: The career and writings of Daniel Turner (1667-1741)

Wilson, Philip Kevin; (1992) Surgeon "turned" physician: The career and writings of Daniel Turner (1667-1741). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis focuses upon the surgical and medical career and writings of the London practitioner, Daniel Turner (1667-1741). After apprenticeship, Turner entered the Barber-Surgeons' Company in 1691. His pursuit of private dissection exemplifies what he claimed was the "absolute necessity" for surgeons to gain a practical knowledge of anatomy. Turner crusaded to expose surgical "pretenders" and to reform the "vulgar" state of surgery in order to improve the care qualified surgeons could offer and to prevent the public from falling prey to "quacks". He presented apprenticeship in his Art of Surgery as a model for those entering a surgical career, endorsing it with examples from his practice. Turner's career offers a remarkable example of the struggles, successes, and failures of one individual's attempt to move upward in Augustan society. In 1711, Turner "turned" from surgery to physic, casting away the handicraft image in an attempt to enhance his social status. He increasingly displayed the trappings associated with gentility. Additionally, he used the "leisure" of his new profession to write, aspiring to the status of a man of letters. He published De Morbis Cutaneis to gain the College of Physicians' approval of his scholarship. Turner's disputatious writings illuminate several contemporary surgico-medical concerns. He denounced the prevalent theoretical medical writings as, like quackery, promoting practices founded upon false principles. His conviction that skin pores transmitted externally-applied remedies inwardly was part of the contemporary dispute between surgeons and physicians over the "right" to administer "internal" physic. His pamphlet war against James Blondel over whether children's physical markings resulted from the mother's imagination illustrates contemporary differences over the identity of the imagination and the process of generation. Turner's many writings on venereal disease reveal the concern over obtaining a "recognizable" cure and how distinctions between orthodox and "quack" remedies changed in between 1717 and 1739.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Surgeon "turned" physician: The career and writings of Daniel Turner (1667-1741)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Turner, Daniel
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124135
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