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The History of Medicine

William Bynum


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Arabic Language Translation Copyright 2016 Hindawi Foundation for
Education and Culture.
The History of Medicine
Copyright William Bynum 2008.
The History of Medicine was originally published in English in 2008.
This translation is published by arrangement with Oxford University Press.
All rights reserved.

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The quotations from the Hippocratic works On the Sacred Disease and
Aphorisms are taken from Francis Adams (ed.), The Genuine Works of
Hippocrates, 2 vols (London: The Sydenham Society, 1849). Shakespeares
question about the seat of fancy comes from The Merchant of Venice,
Act 3.


Sydenhams famous comment about the constancy of symptoms in different persons suffering from the same disease was made in his Medical
Observations. I have used R. G. Latham (ed.), The Works of Thomas
Sydenham, 2 vols (London: The Sydenham Society, 1848).


Antoine Fourcroys summary of the basis of Parisian medical education is
quoted in Erwin Ackerknecht, Medicine at the Paris Hospital, 17941848


(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967); Bichats ringing injunction also is quoted in Ackerknechts monograph. The phrase gateways to death as a description of bad hospitals originated with the physician and man of letters John Aikin (17471822), now better known as a
writer than a physician. Francis Bacons phrase Footsteps of diseases
comes from his Advancement of Learning, originally published in 1605.


Edward VIIs stirring directive, said of tuberculosis, is quoted in Thomas
Dormandy, The White Death: A History of Tuberculosis (London: Hambledon Press, 1999), with the note that Edward was cribbing from William
Withering, the physician who introduced digitalis into clinical medicine in
1785. Mr Gradgrinds insistence on Facts is a recurring trope in Charles
Dickenss Hard Times, first published in 1854.


Robert Hooke used the word cell in his Micrographia (1665). Lfflers
summary of the steps we know as Kochs Postulates is quoted in Thomas
D. Brock, Robert Koch: A Life in Medicine and Bacteriology (Madison, Wisconsin: Science Tech Publishers, 1988).


William Wordsworths memorable phrase first appeared in his poem The
Tables Turned, published in 1798. Ivan Illich elaborated his notion of
iatrogenesis in several works, most centrally in Medical Nemesis: The
Expropriation of Health (London: Calder and Boyars, 1975). C. P. Snows
lecture on what he called The Two Cultures was published by Cambridge
University Press in 1959.

154


W. F. Bynum and Helen Bynum (eds), Dictionary of Medical Biography,
5 vols (Westport, Connecticut, and London: Greenwood Press, 2007).
Biographies of major medical figures from all over the world who
have contributed to clinical medicine, plus introductory essays on
the major medical traditions.
W. F. Bynum and Roy Porter (eds), Companion Encyclopedia of the History
of Medicine, 2 vols (London: Routledge, 1993). A collection of essays
covering the whole of the field.
W. F. Bynum, Anne Hardy, Stephen Jacyna, Christopher Lawrence, and
E. M. (Tilli) Tansey, The Western Medical Tradition, 18002000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). A general survey of Western medicine during the past two centuries.
Lawrence I. Conrad, Michael Neve, Vivian Nutton, Roy Porter, and
Andrew Wear, The Western Medical Tradition, 800BCAD1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). A general survey of
the history of the Western medical tradition up to 1800.
Jacylyn Duffin, History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999). An excellent introduction, with good coverage of modern North American developments.


Stephen Lock, John M. Last, and George Dunea (eds), The Oxford Illustrated
Companion to Medicine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). Arranged alphabetically, most of the articles have generous historical
content.
John Pickstone, Ways of Knowing: A New History of Science, Technology
and Medicine (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000).
A stimulating introduction to these fields by a leading expert.
Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of
Humanity from Antiquity to the Present (London: HarperCollins
Publishers, 1999). A widely admired, always readable survey.
Andrew Wear (ed.), Medicine in Society: Historical Essays (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1992). An excellent collection of wideranging essays, especially written for teaching purposes.
David Weatherall, Science and the Quiet Art: Medical Research and Patient
Care (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). Historically sensitive
study by an outstanding clinician and medical scientist.

:

Noga Arokha, Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (New York:
HarperCollins Publishers, 2007). A full history of the continuing influence of the doctrine of the humours within medicine and science.
M. D. Grmek, Diseases in the Ancient Greek World (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 1989). An authoritative account of the evidence for the range of diseases prevalent in classical antiquity, using
both written and material sources.
Helen King, Hippocrates Woman: Reading the Female Body in Ancient
Greece (London: Routledge, 1998). A stimulating account of womens
diseases in ancient medical writings.

156


G. E. R. Lloyd (ed.), Hippocratic Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978).
A very useful selection of the Hippocratic writings with a fine
introduction.
Vivian Nutton, Ancient Medicine (London: Routledge, 2004). A full and
well-written survey by a leading scholar.
Owsei Temkin, Galenism: Rise and Decline of a Medical Philosophy (Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 1973). An account of Galens continuing influence for more than a millennium after his death.

:
Laurence Brockliss and Colin Jones, The Medical World of Early Modern
France (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997). A monumental account of
four centuries of medical life in France.
W. F. Bynum and Roy Porter (eds), William Hunter and the EighteenthCentury Medical World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1895). A wide-ranging collection of essays on Enlightenment
medicine and anatomy.
Peter Pormann and Emilie Savage-Smith, Medieval Islamic Medicine (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). An up-to-date summary
of a complex subject.
Roy Porter, Quacks: Fakers and Charlatans in English Medicine (Stroud,
Gloucestershire: Tempus Publishing, 2000). An entertaining volume,
rich in anecdote but also developing Porters notion of the continuing
importance of the medical marketplace.
Carole Rawcliffe, Medicine and Society in Later Medieval England (Stroud,
Gloucestershire: A. Sutton, 1995). An accessible and wide-ranging
survey.
Guenter B. Risse, Hospital Life in Enlightenment Scotland: Care and
Teaching in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Cambridge: Cambridge

157


University Press, 1986). An outstanding study of clinical medicine and
medical education on the eve of the French Revolution.
Nancy G. Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine (Chicago:
Chicago University Press, 1990). An excellent introduction to
the medicine of the period.

:
Erwin H. Ackerknecht, Medicine at the Paris Hospital, 17941848 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967). The classic study of
the French school in the early 19th century.
W. F. Bynum, Science and the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth
Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). A general
account of the increasing role of science within clinical medicine.
Jacylyn Duffin, To See with a Better Eye: A Life of R. T. H. Laennec (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). A fine biography of the inventor of the stethoscope.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical
Perception, tr. A. M. Sheridan Smith (London: Tavistock, 1973). One of
the most accessible books of this influential thinker, in which he develops his ideas about power within medicine, focusing on the French
clinical school.
Caroline Hannaway and Ann La Berge (eds), Constructing Paris Medicine
(Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998). A good series of essays by leading scholars, evaluating the French school.
Russell Maulitz, Morbid Appearances: The Anatomy of Pathology in
the Early Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1987). A stimulating study of the fortunes of pathology during
its period of dominance within clinical medicine.

158


Guenter B. Risse, Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). An exceptionally elegant
and thoughtful study of the hospital throughout history. Risse dissects the French hospitals of the early 19th century, discussed in
Chapter 6.
Andrew Scull, The Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness and Society in
Britain, 17001900 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press,
1993). Although focusing on Britain, Sculls powerful account highlights many common features of psychiatry and insanity throughout
Europe and North America during this period.

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John Duffy, The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health (Urbana,
Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1990). A sound account of the public
health movement in the United States.
Christopher Hamlin, Public Health and Social Justice in the Age of
Chadwick: Britain, 18001854 (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1998). An important study of the relationship between poverty
and disease.
Daniel Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human
Heredity (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986). Still the best general account of the eugenics movement.
Ann La Berge, Mission and Method: The Early Nineteenth- Century French
Public Health Movement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1992). An excellent synthesis of the French movement.
Thomas McKeown, The Role of Medicine: Dream, Mirage or Nemesis? (Oxford: Blackwell, 1979). The most pungent statement of McKeowns
vision of medicine and its history.

159


Dorothy Porter, Health, Civilization and the State: A History of Public
Health from Ancient to Modern Times (London: Routledge, 1999).
A good synthesis of a vast topic.
Dorothy Porter (ed.), The History of Public Health and the Modern State
(Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994). A fine collection of essays on many
countries, by leading experts.

:
Erwin H. Ackerknecht, Rudolf Virchow: Doctor, Statesman, Anthropologist
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1953). This old biography is
still an excellent introduction to the many facets of Virchows career.
Claude Bernard, An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine, tr.
Henry Copley Green (New York: Dover Publications, 1957). Originally
published in 1865, Bernards classic monograph is still well worth
reading.
William Coleman and Frederic Lawrence Holmes (eds), The Investigative
Enterprise: Experimental Physiology in Nineteenth-Century Medicine
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). An outstanding collection of essays on experimental physiology and its relevance for
medical practice.
Patrice Debr, Louis Pasteur, tr. Elborg Forster (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1998). A full biography of Pasteur, sympathetic but
not uncritical.
Henry Harris, The Birth of the Cell (New Haven and London: Yale University
Press, 1998). A good introduction to 19th-century microscopy.
Owen H.Wangensteen and Sarah D. Wangensteen, The Rise of Surgery:
From Empiric Craft to Scientific Discipline (Folkestone, Kent: Dawson,

160


1978). Old-fashioned and in the heroic mode, but wonderfully cosmopolitan and accurate in its details.
Michael Worboys, Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice
in Britain, 18651900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
A subtle investigation of the impact of bacteriology and germs theories on British medicine.

:

Michael Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin (Edinburgh: Harris, 1983). A balanced account of this famous episode in the history of medicine.
Thomas Neville Bonner, Becoming a Physician: Medical Education in Great
Britain, France, Germany and the United States, 17501945 (Oxford
and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). A fine comparative
study, with many resonances for earlier chapters of this Introduction
as well.
Roger Cooter and John Pickstone (eds), Medicine in the Twentieth Century
(Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000). A large collection
of essays on many aspects of medicine in the last century.
John Farley, The International Health Division of the Rockefeller
Foundation: The Russell Years, 19201934 (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1995). An excellent introduction to the important dimension of international health, and the Americanization of
the world.
Joel Howell, Technology in the Hospital: Transforming Patient Care in
the Early Twentieth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1995). A fine monograph on how medical science and technology influenced what doctors did in the hospital.

161


James Le Fanu, The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine (London: Little, Brown
and Co., 1999). A perceptive account of 20th-century medicine by
a shrewd general practitioner and medical journalist.
Harry Marks, The Progress of Experiment: Science and Therapeutic Reform
in the United States, 19001990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1997). An excellent introduction to the clinical trial, and much
else besides.
Rosemary Stevens, In Sickness and in Wealth: American Hospitals in
the Twentieth Century (New York: Basic Books, 1989). A full analysis of the economic and medical dimensions of American hospitals.

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All images credits go to The Wellcome Library, London.