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Populist Writing on Diseases in the Late Seventeenth Century

  • Margaret DeLacy

Abstract

DeLacy focuses on three unorthodox medical populists: Marchamont Nedham, the opportunistic journalist who admired van Helmont’s work and published Medela Medicinae: the first English work on living pathogens; Gideon Harvey, who thought that venereal diseases arose from living particles and that consumption was often contagious; and the “Chymical Physitian” Everard Maywaringe, who attributed diseases to “seminal agents,” provided a clear description of the mechanism of contagion, and argued that “Qualities cannot be Diseases.” DeLacy shows that Helmontian medical ideas persisted through the Restoration period despite the political defeat of the sectarian reformers. Because they believed that the causes of disease were omnipresent, not all Helmontians believed in contagion or disease specificity, but some Helmontian authors did propagate this idea.

Keywords

Venereal Disease Spotted Fever Spontaneous Generation Vital Force English Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    It also figured in the battle between the “Ancients,” who valued traditional learning, and the “Moderns,” who thought recent discoveries had surpassed classical knowledge. Richard Jones, Ancients and Moderns: A Study of the Rise of the Scientific Movement in Seventeenth Century England (Berkeley: 2nd ed. rpt. 1965), 111.Google Scholar
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© Margaret DeLacy 2016

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