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Early Modern Medicine In Print And Diabetes: Published Advice And Imagery

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Chapter Summary

The dissemination of information through publishing transformed Britain from the early sixteenth-century onwards. Licensed doctors throughout England lamented unfettered efforts in print by the unscrupulous to divulge professional arcane and opposed accrediting quacks, claiming they did so to protect the sick from charlatans and mountebanks. Among the first published works in England that focused more than just a paragraph or two on diabetes are those of Nicholas Culpeper, an anti-elitist apothecary whose popular medical publications in the vernacular encouraged laymen to take charge of their own health. By the end of Culpepers century the annual sale of almanacs totaled close to 400,000 copies, enjoying the widest currency of any printed books except the Bible. Consulting unlicensed physicians for diabetes continued to be commonplace in the eighteenth century.

Keywords: almanacs; charlatans; diabetes; England; Nicholas Culpeper



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