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French Connection: The Voyage To Montpellier, 1663–1666

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Chapter Summary

Lister traveled to Montpellier during the most convenient years for most gentlemen to travel abroad, between leaving university and settling down to married life. Montpellier was a popular choice for English medical students, not only affording the chance to learn the French language and politesse, but also possessing a fine university and renowned academies for foreign students in a beautiful setting with over 300 days of sunshine a year. While in France, Lister met influential naturalists such as Nicholas Steno and John Ray who would influence and shape his understanding of natural philosophy. With their patronage and tutelage, Lister made his first tentative scientific observations and began his critical analysis of the scientific and medical works of the ancients and moderns, ultimately devoting himself to medicine and natural history, the pole stars of his intellectual life.

Keywords:English medical students; France; John Ray; Lister; Montpellier; natural philosophy; Nicholas Steno; politesse



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