By Nancy G. Siraisi
During the Renaissance, collections of letters either chuffed humanist enthusiasm for historical literary types and supplied the flexibleness of a layout acceptable to many sorts of inquiry. the broadcast collections of clinical letters via Giovanni Manardo of Ferrara and different physicians in early sixteenth-century Europe might hence be considered as items of scientific humanism. The letters of mid- and past due sixteenth-century Italian and German physicians tested in Communities of realized Experience through Nancy G. Siraisi additionally illustrate practices linked to the suggestions of the Republic of Letters: open and comparatively casual verbal exchange between a realized group and a liberal alternate of knowledge and concepts. also, such released scientific correspondence might frequently have served to supply mutual reinforcement recognition.
Siraisi makes use of a few of these collections to check techniques to sharing scientific wisdom throughout large areas of Europe and inside a urban, with the objective of illuminating geographic alterations in addition to variety inside of social, city, courtly, and educational environments. The collections she has chosen comprise essays on common scientific subject matters addressed to colleagues or disciples, a few suggestion for person sufferers (usually written on the request of the patient’s doctor), and a powerful dose of controversy.
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Extra resources for Communities of Learned Experience: Epistolary Medicine in the Renaissance
Reusner was Lange’s distant relative; his words occur in the preface he wrote for a posthumous edition of Lange’s Epistolae prepared by yet another relative, Georg Wirth, for a time a court physician to Charles V and Philip II and Lange’s conﬁdant and heir. Lange’s German world was, as Reusner’s preface makes clear, shaped in important ways by his membership in a family network of physicians and jurists. No doubt Reusner’s insistence on Lange’s German identity reﬂects familial pride and perhaps also a reaction against dismissive treatment of northern Europe culture by some Renaissance Italians.
Fernel nevertheless played a signiﬁcant role in undermining Galenic disease theory through his denial that imbalance in the body’s temperament, understood as the mixture (complexio) of the four primary qualities, could account for all diseases. By contending that some diseases, especially pestilential epidemics, were caused by a speciﬁc quality that aﬀected the body as a whole, Fernel and his followers were able to insist on the distinct identity of such diseases. Erastus’s correspondence with Capodivacca was not undertaken solely for the sake of highly theoretical disquisitions on contagion and disease theory, rife with analogies about the transmission of substance, or quality, from one thing to another.
In reality, as Michele Colombo (another former student) explained, Mercuriale “at ﬁrst indeed was not very pleased, because earlier he had denied the opportunity to publish the material to Venetian, Paduan, and foreign publishers who had been demanding it importunately. His medical correspondents were also numerous. No printed collection of medical letters designated as such appeared under Mercuriale’s name, but his collected “medical responses and consultations” certainly support the contention of those sixteenthcentury medical authors who claimed that consilia were essentially indistinguishable from medical letters, since the great majority of his consultationes take the form of advice written to a medical colleague about the case of an individual patient (in a few instances, Mercuriale’s advice is oﬀered directly to the patient concerned).
Communities of Learned Experience: Epistolary Medicine in the Renaissance by Nancy G. Siraisi