Medical misadventure in an age of professionalisation, 1780-1890

By Alannah Tomkins

Medical misadventure in an age of professionalisation, 1780-1890
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  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526116079
  • Publish Date: Jul 2017
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526116109
  • Publish Date: Jul 2017
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1610-9
    • Published Date: July 2017


    This book looks at medical professionalisation from a new perspective, one of failure rather than success. It questions the existing picture of broad and rising medical prosperity across the nineteenth century to consider the men who did not keep up with professionalising trends. It unpicks the life stories of men who could not make ends meet or who could not sustain a professional persona of disinterested expertise, either because they could not overcome public accusations of misconduct or because they struggled privately with stress. In doing so it uncovers the trials of the medical marketplace and the pressures of medical masculinity. All professionalising groups risked falling short of rising expectations, but for doctors these expectations were inflected in some occupationally specific ways.


    'Alannah Tomkins's Medical Misadventure in an Age of Professionalisation, 1780-1890, does justice to the richness and complexity of nineteenth-century medical lives and through collective biography effectively resists the temptation to recapitulate the trials and tribulations of medical history's 'great men'. It is a crucial contribution to our knowledge of the affairs - quotidian and catastrophic alike - of the 'regular' medical practitioner in Victorian Britain, and considers the making and unmaking of professional boundaries in a turbulent era. [.It] is a compelling and painstakingly researched book. Reading it will repay dividends to students and scholars of nineteenth-century medicine.'
    Agnes Arnold-Forster, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Vol. 74, No. 2 (April 2019)


    List of Figures
    List of Tables
    1. Introduction
    2. Financial hardship: bankruptcy, insolvency, and medical charity
    3. Thwarted ambition and disappointing careers? Narratives of the Indian Medical Service
    4. Accident or on purpose? Neglect, incompetence, and unintentional killing
    5. Crimes Against the Body: Causing harm
    6. Mad Doctors: lunacy and the asylum
    7. Despairing doctors: professional stress and suicide
    8. Conclusion
    Select Bibliography


    Alannah Tomkins is Professor of History at Keele University

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