Roy porter student prize essay the bounds of domestic healing: Medical recipes, storytelling and surgery in early modern England


Journal Article

This paper investigates ways in which early modern English recipe collections constructed domestic medicine as broader and more powerful than is often appreciated. It shows that their compilers frequently selected recipes that promised to allow them to address a wide range of surgical ailments, to heal serious surgical conditions medicinally, and to avoid invasive interventions. Claims of remedies' virtues and stories of their successes imagined domestic medicine not only as a 'first port of call', but also as a potent counterpart to the work of practitioners; a last resort when practitioners had failed; and as an alternative to the knife. Using the writings of the surgeon John Woodall, it argues that surgeons were sensitive to the attitudes and preferences that motivated this collection. In seeking to discipline surgery, Woodall invoked the stereotypical gentleness of women's and domestic medicine in an effort to inculcate greater discernment in the use of violence. © 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lejacq, SS

Published Date

  • August 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 451 - 468

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1477-4666

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0951-631X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/shm/hkt006

Citation Source

  • Scopus