This talk explores what it was like to have and treat venereal disease in the 1700s. Rather than focus on hospital care or elite doctors, the talk explores the substantial number of unlicensed, and often untrained, venereal ‘specialists’ who hawked their cures in London’s bookshops and taverns. The talk recovers what it was like to visit one of these healers and what they can tell us about the city, the disease, and the experiences of patients. Historians have either ignored this group of healers or have written them off as quacks. Yet they treated a substantial number of patients and were a key component of London’s medical landscape. By taking them seriously, the talk contributes more broadly to our understanding of the economics of non-learned medical practice and medical retailing.
"Republic of Venus: Shopping for Venereal Cures in Early Modern London"
Friday, April 19, 2019 - 3:35pm
University of Massachusetts