Heidi Hausse
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Writing the craft of surgery
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Chapter 1 sets out connections between surgeons and other craft groups by examining how they learned and how they wrote. To embark on a more nuanced exploration of surgical treatises circulating in early modern Germany, it introduces the term “vernacular surgeons” to describe one category of author. These were practitioners, primarily trained by apprenticeship rather than at university, who used the printing press to publish. Though figures like Fabry von Hilden, Hans von Gersdorff, and others were exceptional for publishing, their backgrounds were closest to most everyday practitioners. The chapter offers one model to locate vernacular surgeons as a group, moving step by step from the realm of everyday practice to an analysis of how these authors understood their work within a craft context. It explores how they describe, compare, and differentiate forms of surgical work, pointing to ways scholars can further investigate the interchange of techniques and ideas among craft and learned spheres of medicine. The language of vernacular surgeons reveals how their self-conceptions as practitioners and their strategies to connect to readers were deeply embedded in a craft framework.

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The malleable body

Surgeons, artisans, and amputees in early modern Germany


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