Writing Doctors and Writing Health in the Long Eighteenth Century

Ashleigh Blackwood, Helen Williams*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This introduction to the special issue ‘Writing Doctors and Writing Health in the Long Eighteenth Century’ explores the various types of literary and visual creativity enacted by medical practitioners as they sought new ways of communicating and engaging with the public. Focusing on the shift from Latin to vernacular publishing in elite medical circles, we examine the proliferation of new opportunities open to physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, medical artists, midwives, and other women practitioners to express themselves. Novels, drama, poetry, artworks, almanacs, and letters, to name but a few creative products of the period, allowed new ideas and underrepresented voices to be heard for the first time, changing forever the way creative and empirical cultures would intertwine. Stemming from the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Writing Doctors: Medical Representation and Personality, ca. 1660–1832 (2018–22), this research has undoubtedly been impacted by the rapidly changing nature of public healthcare in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic that was still ongoing when this issue went to print. We value and celebrate connections made between the past and present that continue to assist us in understanding and caring for our bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number1
Early online date23 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

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