Early-modern Europe (here covering the years from 1492 to 1750) was constantly beset by plagues of all kinds. Scarcely a year passed in western Europe until the 1720s without an outbreak of ‘pestilence’, and scarcely a decade without a major epidemic that killed ten, twenty, or even forty per cent of the community. Expansion brought with it new dangers.
The feverish speculation in tulip bulbs which reached a peak in February 1637, together with the crash that followed, is one of the more notorious episodes in 17th-century Dutch history.
War, State and Society in England and the Netherlands, 1477-1559 / Steven Gunn, David Grummitt, Hans Cools
This book is the result of a bold and innovative research project funded between 1999 and 2002 by the then Arts and Humanities Research Board, with further funds provided subsequently by a number of scholarly institutions. The preface further acknowledges the support of a glittering array of scholars, not least Geoffrey Parker who read through the entire draft.
Andrea McKenzie begins her preface to Tyburn's Martyrs by attempting to locate the 18th-century Tyburn execution in the broader modern cultural context.
Caribbean Exchanges: Slavery and the Transformation of English Society, 1640-1700 / Susan Dwyer Amussen
As the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade approached, the past few years saw a great outpouring of scholarship on subjects related to the relationship between Britain, slavery, race and empire, with particular focus upon Britain's entry into participation in the slave trade and plantation agriculture, and upon the rise of popular opposition to slavery.
Medicine, Charity and Mutual Aid: The Consumption of Health and Welfare in Britain, c.1550-1950 / eds. Anne Borsay, Peter Shapely
This collection of 12 essays originated in a number of conference papers addressing the theme 'History from Below: the Urban Poor and the Reception of Medicine and Charity in Western European Cities'. The essays in the book examine the consumption of health and welfare in Britain, or more accurately, in England, with the main chronological focus being on the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Politics of Vaccination: Practice and Policy in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland / Deborah Brunton
Once upon a time there was smallpox. One of the most loathsome diseases ever to afflict human kind, smallpox not only killed but maimed. Death rates were typically between 25 and 30 per cent, and survivors might not only be blinded and their skins scarred and pitted from the pocks, but they also suffered internal tissue damage that affected lung function and other life processes.
In Thomas Cannon’s 1749 pamphlet Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplify’d, the author recounts a chance meeting with a ‘too polish’d Pederast’ who, ‘attack’d upon the Head, that his Desire was unnatural, thus wrestled in Argument; Unnatural Desire is a Contradiction in Terms; downright Nonsense.
The intellectual historian Martin Jay once championed the cause of ‘ocular-eccentricity’ as an alternative mode of visual engagement.(1) The term, of course, was a play on ‘ocularcentricity’, the concept that the rational power of the eye had come to dominate the nature and scope of our interactions.
Sandra Cavallo’s Artisans of the Body in Early Modern Italy will appeal to scholars interested in the social history of medicine for more than one reason.