Sufferers and Healers
The Experience of Illness in Seventeenth-Century England
Lucinda McCray Beier’s remarkable book, first published in 1987, enters the world of illness in seventeenth-century England, exploring what it was like to be either a sufferer or a healer. A wide spectrum of healers existed, ranging between the housewife, with her simple herbal preparations, local cunning-folk and bonestters, travelling healers, and formally accredited surgeons and physicians. Basing her study upon personal accounts written by sufferers and healers, Beier examines the range of healers and therapies available, describes the disorders people suffered from, and indicates the various ways sufferers dealt with their ailments. She includes several case-studies of healers and sufferers, and looks in detail at the ways in which women’s identities and duties were associated with childbirth, illness and healing. This title will be of interest to students of history.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction 2. The Medical Marketplace 3. A London Surgeon’s Career: Joseph Binns 4. The Physicians Tale 5. Sufferers and Patients: The Diseases of the People 6. Sufferers and Patients: Approaches to Illness 7. In Sickness and in Health: The Josselins’ Experience 8. The Character of a Good Woman: Woman and Illness 9. Conclusion: The Experience of Illness; Abbreviations; Notes; Bibliography; Glossary; Index