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Politics, reform and the demise of medico-gentility
Michael Brown

attacking the public reputations of both the Asylum and himself, Mason had broken an unwritten code of gentlemanly conduct. Claiming that he desired to be treated with ‘civility . . . decency and propriety’, he stated: I shall pass over in silence the many low and illiberal attacks made by Mr Mason upon the constitution of the Asylum and the honour of the Governors, and, in particular, upon the attending physician.42 Despite their appeals to the public, the challenge posed by Mason, Burgh and Withers was soon subsumed into the space of the committee room. They were asked

in Performing medicine
Medicine and the world of letters
Michael Brown

exchange to ridicule his native soil’.117 Charles, however, was not to be contaminated by such pompous illiberality, and it was not long before he was ‘divested of French etiquette, and dismantled of the curious habiliments, which I appeared in on my first arrival at home’.118 Charles’s work can thus be situated within a tradition of comedic literature epitomised by his fellow surgeon, Smollett, and his father’s friend, Laurence Sterne, both of whom wrote books (albeit from radically different perspectives) about men, manners and the cultures of travel.119 A similar

in Performing medicine
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Cholera, collectivity and the care of the social body
Michael Brown

profusely lavished, for they cost nothing; but the just and reasonable claims of the profession are met with nothing but outcries of illiberality and selfishness.112 Despite these tensions, and despite the claims of a number of historians, the cholera epidemic of 1832 can nevertheless be said to have enhanced the cultural and symbolic capital of medicine within the broader social field. At the same time, however, it also served as a catalyst for the further elaboration of medicine as a discrete and specialised discipline, a body of knowledge which, though of general

in Performing medicine