French Medical Culture in the Nineteenth Century
The eleven essays in this volume illustrate the richness, complexity, and diversity of French medical culture in the nineteenth century, a period that witnessed the medicalization of French society. Medical themes permeated contemporary culture and politics, and medical discourse infused many levels of French society from the bastions of science - the medical faculties and research institutions - to novels, the theater, and the daily lives of citizens as patients.
The contributors to this volume - all established scholars in the history of medicine - present the French medical experience from the point of view of both practitioners and patients, and show how medical themes colored popular perceptions and shaped public policies. Topics addressed range from popular medicine to elite Parisian medicine, the interaction of literary and medical discourse, social theater, medical research and practice, medical specialization and education. The essays reflect current trends of medico-historical analysis which emphasize the centrality of class, race, and gender in understanding concepts of disease and the practice of medicine. They show how the medical experience of patients, practitioners, students, and researchers varied according to social class, gender, and geography and the importance of these factors for the construction of disease.