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‘he was ashamed to let me know of it, and thought to have got cure otherwise without my knowledge’: Medical writer's quibbles about genitourinary patients in early modern England
This paper considers the extent to which disorders affecting the genitals and reproductive organs caused embarrassment and shame. It demonstrates that medical literature described men as being embarrassed but configured this as a specific component of the relationship between medic and patient, whom they avoided in favour of domestic solutions, irregulars, and quacks. To counter this, practitioners mingled shame and embarrassment with negligence, emphasizing that a failure to seek appropriate medical help exacerbated symptoms and further threatened the reproductive organs. Moreover, they made strategic use of anonymity in their observations to accentuate their own abilities to be discreet during treatment. Practitioners played upon men’s concerns about the embarrassing nature of these disorders to gain paying clients.
Join Dr Jennifer Evans in D110 at 2:30pm for an insightful lecture into Early Modern Medicine.