Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit




Jonathan Barry: "Dr Salmon of Quackish Memory": Reconstructing the career of late Stuart London’s leading medical entrepreneur and author

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars Frühe Neuzeit


barryWilliam Salmon (1644-1712) was the most prolific medical author in late Stuart England, whose books comprise over 20,000 pages of printed text, and often had numerous editions: though some were translations or commentaries on other works (such as his edition of the London Pharmacopeia) even these works often had numerous additions and comments by him which throw light on his practice. From an obscure background in the Fens and with no formal medical education, he became one of London's best-known and successful practitioners, ending up in a splendid mansion on the Thames, partly through his sales of numerous medical products, such as his Family Pills. Yet Salmon has attracted no scholarly attention: even his DNB/ODNB entries are highly unreliable and perpetuate the image of him as a colourful 'quack' whose works must be plagiarised, and hence not worth attention. In this talk I hope to discuss the issues involved in discovering his real career and identifying his ideas and practices, both medical and politico-religious, which reveal him as a complex figure, part of the world of astrological and chymical physick as well as the (related) world of radical Whigs and dissenters. But I hope also to raise wider issues about biography as a form of micro-history (or history from below), and also how the 'memories' of past people are created, forgotten and revised over time and the dangers of relying on apparently authoritative biographical sources.

  • Zeit: 17-19 Uhr c.t.
  • Ort: Amalienstr. 52, Raum K 402