The Medical Paratext as a Voice in the Patient’s Chamber: Speech and Print in Physick for the Poor (1657)

  • Elspeth Jajdelska
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter uses new approaches to seventeenth-century paratexts to analyse medical texts addressed to the poor, with the aim of illuminating face-to-face interactions between practitioners, their peers and competitors (from housewife to apothecary to learned physician), and patients. In a seventeenth-century context, printed texts could be seen as proxies for the author’s spoken address to a specific audience or audiences. This brought them within the constraints of spoken decorum, itself governed by which topics were considered proper for which rank. The chapter looks at the paratexts to Thomas Law’s Physick for the Poor (1657) and shows how they constitute a set of relationships between medical professionals, amateurs and patients which were fluid and ephemeral, shifting between coalition and competition in response to social setting.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elspeth Jajdelska
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesStrathclyde UniversityGlasgowUK

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