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Samuel Johnson has become known to posterity in two capacities: through his own works as the great literary essayist of the eighteenth century, and through Boswell's Life, as a man--notoriously a medical patient with a string of physical and psychological ailments. John Wiltshire brings the two together in this original study of Johnson the writer as "doctor" and patient. The subject of modern medical historians' case studies, Johnson also cultivated the acquaintance of doctors in his own day, and was himself a "dabbler in physic." Dr. Wiltshire illuminates Johnson's life and work by setting them in their medical context and also examines the importance of medical themes in Johnson's own writings. He discusses the many parts of Johnson's work touching on doctors, medicine, hospitals and medical experimentation, and analyzes the central theme, running throughout, of human suffering--in body and mind--and its alleviation.
Reviews & endorsements
"In a beautifully written book, Wiltshire...carefully and sensitively analyzes Johnson's encounters with the medical world of eighteenth-century Britain, by combining close readings of his writings with the most recent scholarship in the history of medicine." ISISSee more reviews
"Though the author of Samuel Johnson in the Medical World is a professor of English (at La Trobe University in Australia), his knowledge of eighteenth-century medicine is remarkably extensive, indeed in many ways matching Johnson's own. It is nicely complemented, however, by an equal, if less surprising, flair for critical analysis, as shown in his chapter on "Medicine as Metaphor" commenting on Johnson's habitual use of medical terms in purely literary contexts and in his conversation." James Gray, Dalhousie Review
"...the balance of Wiltshire's bok is sound and sensible, a distinguished contribution not only to Johnsoniana but to the wider field of eighteenth-century studies." Willam B. Ober, M.D.; The Eighteenth Century
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- Date Published: December 2005
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521022286
- length: 304 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 140 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.395kg
- contains: 1 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
A note on references
1. Johnson's medical history: facts and mysteries
2. The practice of physic
3. Transactions of the medical world
4. Medicine as metaphor
5. The history of a man of learning
6. Dr Robert Levet
7. Therapeutic friendship
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