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Medical culture and identity in provincial England, c.1760–1850
Author: Michael Brown

This book talks about late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English medical culture, a study of what it meant to be a doctor and how this changed over time. It presents a brief overview of the social, economic and cultural landscape of late eighteenth-century York. Medical culture and identity in late eighteenth-century York took shape within a social landscape shaped by the values of gentility, polite sociability and civic belonging. The book examines the role of intellectual liberality, demonstrating how public displays of polite and 'ornamental' learning were central to the performance of medico-gentility. It explores the incipient demise of this culture. Through a close reading of a scandal which enveloped the York Lunatic Asylum, it also explores the ways in which medical identities founded upon gentility and politeness were critically undermined by the political and social factionalism. The book looks at medical involvement in the provincial scientific movement, examining how local medical men positioned themselves relative to the so-called 'march of intellect', the cultural and ideological alignment between science and social reform. It continues this analysis in relation to the cholera epidemic of 1832 and other medico-political activities. The book considers how the professional dominion over healthcare was forged by the dual processes of inclusion and exclusion. It discusses the foundation of the Medical School in 1834 against the trial, in the same year, of a local salesman for James Morison's 'Universal Vegetable Medicine'.

Medicine and the world of letters
Michael Brown

genteel carriage’, to the importance of mixed gender association and the potential pitfalls of ‘gaming’, one of the ‘most fashionable vices of the age’.4 However, it was knowledge which was, for Withers, the most important aspect of the physician’s identity and he dedicated the first chapter of his book to the subject of ‘preliminary and ornamental learning’. Withers regarded such knowledge as ‘ornamental’ because it was not explicitly connected with Polite and ornamental knowledge 49 medicine. Nevertheless, it was essential if a physician was to partake in polite

in Performing medicine
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Michael Brown

strategies, such as marriage and the cultivation of patronage, could allow physicians, surgeons and even seemingly lowly apothecaries to fashion themselves as genteel and upstanding local citizens. Chapter 2, meanwhile, examines the role of intellectual liberality in this process. By examining the literary activities of a number of local practitioners, it demonstrates how public displays of polite and ‘ornamentallearning were central to the performance of medico-gentility. Chapter 3 then proceeds to explore the incipient demise of this culture. Through a close reading of

in Performing medicine