By Emily Booth
Walter Charleton (1619-1707) has been commonly depicted as a normal thinker whose highbrow profession reflected the highbrow ferment of the ‘scientific revolution’. rather than viewing him as a barometer of highbrow swap, I learn the formerly unexplored query of his id as a doctor. interpreting 3 of his vernacular scientific texts, this quantity considers Charleton’s recommendations on anatomy, body structure and the equipment in which he sought to appreciate the invisible methods of the physique. even supposing interested in many empirical investigations in the Royal Society, he didn't supply epistemic primacy to experimental findings, nor did he intentionally determine himself with the empirical equipment linked to the ‘new science’. as an alternative Charleton provided himself as a scholarly eclectic, following a classical version of the self. Physicians had to suggest either historic and glossy experts, that allows you to allure and preserve sufferers. I argue that Charleton’s situations as a practicing surgeon ended in the development of an identification at variance with that largely linked to common philosophers. The insights he can supply us into the area of 17th century physicians are hugely major and totally attention-grabbing
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Extra info for A Subtle and Mysterious Machine: The Medical World of Walter Charleton (1619-1707)
Chapter IV, ‘The Animal Oeconomy’ analyses the first of three specific medical works, in terms of the epistemological and historiographical issues highlighted in my introductory chapters. Natural History was Charleton’s first medical work in English. It shows a departure from the matter theory and moral philosophy on which he had previously published, and also signals the point in his career at which historians have tended to lose interest in this author. Natural History was highly successful, in both Latin and English, and was the first of Charleton’s works to enjoy such success.
Armistead, ‘Introduction’, xiv. C. Webster, ‘The College of Physicians: “Solomon’s House” in Commonwealth England’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 41, 1967, pp. 393-412. REWRITING WALTER CHARLETON 37 Lindsay Sharp and Theodore Brown (though Brown disagrees on the nature of the College of Physicians). Robert J. 30 Webster claims that the physician’s beliefs, throughout his apparent transition from hermeticism to atomism, reflected the concerns of his contemporaries. The author’s adjustments thus become signals not of the displacement of magic by science, but of a decline in the popularity of magical beliefs.
The subsequent two chapters examine specific texts, and investigate Charleton’s self-presentation in the light of this discussion. My textual analyses consider the evidence that Charleton underwent an epistemological shift toward what historians have seen as the innovative values of the Royal Society virtuosi, or toward the experimental and mechanistic emphasis of the College of Physicians. The key question here will be the relationship between experience and textual presentation. 144 I examine the works that Charleton published before and after he performed extensive anatomical experimentation, to see how he associated himself with the manipulations he had performed.
A Subtle and Mysterious Machine: The Medical World of Walter Charleton (1619-1707) by Emily Booth