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Books, Journals, New Media
August 4, 1999

Medieval Medicine: Medicine in the English Middle Ages

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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by Faye Getz, 174 pp, with illus, $32.50, ISBN 0-691-08522-6, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1998

JAMA. 1999;282(5):492-493. doi:10.1001/jama.282.5.492-JBK0804-3-1

During the past 20 years, the social context of medieval medicine in the West has been admirably developed in a number of books dealing with particular cities, regions, and peoples. In 1980, Luke E. Demaitre dealt with the university setting of Montpellier by analyzing the career of the physician Bernard de Gordon (circa 1258-c 1318). In the following year, Danielle Jacquart covered (in French) the medical practitioners of all of France between the 12th and 15th centuries, while Edward J. Kealey described those in England during the Anglo-Norman period. A study of doctors and therapeutics in Florence, Italy, during the century after the Black Death of 1348 was written by Katharine Park and appeared in 1985. Medical practices in the regions north of Florence were detailed in a work by Nancy G. Siraisi, published in 1990. This endeavor was followed three years later by Michael R. McVaugh's monograph that demonstrated how the Aragonese of Spain sponsored a well-defined program of medical attention between 1285 and 1345. Jewish doctors and their patients, particularly in southern France during the 14th and 15th centuries, were portrayed by Joseph Shatzmiller in a book that appeared in 1994. Now, Faye Getz, capitalizing upon her previous investigations, returns to the healing processes of medieval England in order to integrate her findings with the aforementioned studies for a period spanning some seven hundred years from approximately 750 to 1450.