The Germ of an Idea: Contagionism, Religion, and Society in Britain, 1660-1730

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9781137575272: The Germ of an Idea: Contagionism, Religion, and Society in Britain, 1660-1730

Contagionism is an old idea, but gained new life in Restoration Britain. Germ of an Idea considers British contagionism in its religious, social, political and professional context from the Great Plague of London to the adoption of smallpox inoculation. It shows how ideas about contagion changed medicine and the understanding of acute diseases.

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Germ of an Idea shows how a belief in contagion began to spread among a group of medical reformers who had been forced by nationality and religious nonconformity to follow alternative pathways to medical education and professional status in early eighteenth century Britain. It explains how contagionism shaped their ideas about the nature and behavior of diseases such as smallpox, plague, syphilis, and consumption and how it interacted with the belief that diseases were not imbalances, but specific entities.

About the Author:

Margaret DeLacy is an independent scholar. She received her Ph.D. in British history from Princeton University, USA. She is the author of Prison Reform in Lancashire, 1700-1850: A Study in County Administration and several articles on British medical history.

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