Tag Archives: new books

New Books: Human Extinction, Nightmare Factories and Sight Correction

We’ve had several new arrivals already this year, so why not grab a coffee in your KeepCup, escape from the cold and head on over to the History of Medicine Library to check out some new titles?

Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary by Christos Lynteris

‘This book develops an examination and critique of human extinction as a result of the ‘next pandemic’ and turns attention towards the role of pandemic catastrophe in the renegotiation of what it means to be human. Nested in debates in anthropology, philosophy, social theory and global health, the book argues that fear of and fascination with the ‘next pandemic’ stem not so much from an anticipation of a biological extinction of the human species, as from an expectation of the loss of mastery over human/non-human relations. Christos Lynteris employs the notion of the ‘pandemic imaginary’ in order to understand the way in which pandemic-borne human extinction refashions our understanding of humanity and its place in the world. The book challenges us to think how cosmological, aesthetic, ontological and political aspects of pandemic catastrophe are intertwined. The chapters examine the vital entanglement of epidemiological studies, popular culture, modes of scientific visualisation, and pandemic preparedness campaigns. This volume will be relevant for scholars and advanced students of anthropology as well as global health, and for many others interested in catastrophe, the ‘end of the world’ and the (post)apocalyptic.’

Nightmare Factories: The Asylum in the American Imagination by Troy Rondinone

How the insane asylum came to exert such a powerful hold on the American imagination.

Madhouse, funny farm, psychiatric hospital, loony bin, nuthouse, mental institution: no matter what you call it, the asylum has a powerful hold on the American imagination. Stark and foreboding, they symbolize mistreatment, fear, and imprisonment, standing as castles of despair and tyranny across the countryside. In the “asylum” of American fiction and film, treatments are torture, attendants are thugs, and psychiatrists are despots.

In Nightmare Factories, Troy Rondinone offers the first history of mental hospitals in American popular culture. Beginning with Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 short story “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether,” Rondinone surveys how American novelists, poets, memoirists, reporters, and filmmakers have portrayed the asylum and how those representations reflect larger social trends in the United States. Asylums, he argues, darkly reflect cultural anxieties and the shortcomings of democracy, as well as the ongoing mistreatment of people suffering from mental illness.’

Vision and Blindness in Eighteenth-Century Britain by Chris Mounsey

‘The debut publication in a new series devoted to the body as an object of historical study,  Sight Correction provides an expansive analysis of blindness in eighteenth-century Britain, developing a new methodology for conceptualizing sight impairment. Beginning with a reconsideration of the place of sight correction as both idea and reality in eighteenth-century philosophical debates, Chris Mounsey traces the development of eye surgery by pioneers such as William Read, Mary Cater, and John Taylor, who developed a new idea of medical specialism that has shaped contemporary practices. He then turns to accounts by the visually impaired themselves, exploring how Thomas Gills, John Maxwell, and Priscilla Pointon deployed literature strategically as a necessary response to the inadequacies of Poor Laws to support blind people. Situating blindness philosophically, medically, and economically in the eighteenth century, Sight Correction shows how the lives of both the blind and those who sought to treat them redefined blindness in ways that continue to inform our understanding today.’

Other titles include:

For a full list of this year’s new books, please check out our LibraryThing page. If you would like to consult any of these titles and more, then feel free to visit us at 45 Banbury Road! We are open most weekday afternoons from 2.15pm until 5pm (4.30pm on Wednesdays), but do check our weekly blog posts for up-to-date opening hours. If you haven’t visited the History of Medicine Library before, then please email us at historyofmedicine@bodleian.ox.ac.uk in to organise your first visit. See you soon!

(Nearly) new year, new books!

We may be about to leave 2019 behind us, but fear not, we are doing so with a plethora of new books in our collection! From August to December this year, the History of Medicine Library acquired 45 more books. Whilst most of these have now found their new home on the main shelves of the Library, our New Books Display continues to exhibit some intriguing titles…

Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture by Emily Cock

“Challenging histories of plastic surgery that posit a complete disappearance of Gaspare Tagliacozzi’s rhinoplasty operation after his death in 1599, Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture traces knowledge of the procedure within the early modern British medical community, through to its impact on the nineteenth-century revival of skin-flap facial surgeries. The book explores why such a procedure was controversial, and the cultural importance of the nose, offering critical readings of literary noses from Shakespeare to Laurence Sterne. Medical knowledge of the graft operation was accompanied by a spurious story that the nose would be constructed from flesh purchased from a social inferior, and would drop off when that person died. The volume therefore explores this narrative in detail for its role in the procedure’s stigmatisation, its engagement with the doctrine of medical sympathy, and its unique attempt to commoditise living human flesh.” (Published by Manchester University Press)

Shell Shock Doctors: Neuropsychiatry in the Trenches, 1914-18 by A D Sandy Macleod

“Shell shock was the signature injury of the First World War. Military doctors during the conflict on the Western Front observed and personally experienced psychiatric states they had never witnessed before. This text reviews the published medical literature of that era which graphically detailed the clinical states of hysteria (conversion disorder) and neurasthenia (anxiety and PTSD). Medical officers at the front evolved pragmatic medicinal, cognitive and behavioural interventions, still practised today, though never scientifically proven to be effective. The doctors, like their patients, endured numerous horrors at the front, which were, for many, to influence their post-war personal and professional lives. Much of what they wrote was forgotten and deserves reconsideration. Neuropsychiatry was founded in the shell craters of Flanders.” (Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Anxious Times: Medicine & modernity in nineteenth-century Britain by Amelia Bonea, Melissa Dickson, Sally Shuttleworth and Jennifer Wallis

“Much like the Information Age of the twenty-first century, the Industrial Age was a period of great social changes brought about by rapid industrialization and urbanization, speed of travel, and global communications. The literature, medicine, science, and popular journalism of the nineteenth century attempted to diagnose problems of the mind and body that such drastic transformations were thought to generate: a range of conditions or “diseases of modernity” resulting from specific changes in the social and physical environment. The alarmist rhetoric of newspapers and popular periodicals, advertising various “neurotic remedies,” in turn inspired a new class of physicians and quack medical practices devoted to the treatment and perpetuation of such conditions.

Anxious Times examines perceptions of the pressures of modern life and their impact on bodily and mental health in nineteenth-century Britain. The authors explore anxieties stemming from the potentially harmful impact of new technologies, changing work and leisure practices, and evolving cultural pressures and expectations within rapidly changing external environments. Their work reveals how an earlier age confronted the challenges of seemingly unprecedented change, and diagnosed transformations in both the culture of the era and the life of the mind.” (Published by University of Pittsburgh Press)

Other titles include:

For a full list of this year’s new books, please check out our LibraryThing page. If you would like to consult any of these titles and more, then feel free to visit us at 45 Banbury Road! We are open most weekday afternoons from 2.15pm until 5pm, but please do check our weekly blog posts for our accurate opening hours. If you haven’t visited the History of Medicine Library before, then please do email us at historyofmedicine@bodleian.ox.ac.uk in order to arrange your initial visit. See you soon!

New Books: Sleeping Sickness, Nutrition, Ovariotomy and Influenza

These fascinating volumes are just a few of the newest additions to the library! You can view the full range on our LibraryThing page, or book an appointment and take a look at our New Books Display in person.

















The Lomidine files: The untold story of a medical disaster in colonial Africa by Guillaume Lachenal. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017.

Proteins, pathologies and politics: dietary innovation and disease from the nineteenth century by David Gentilcore & Matthew Smith (eds.). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.

Belly-rippers, surgical innovation and the ovariotomy controversy by Sally Frampton.
Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Influenza : the hundred year hunt to cure the deadliest disease in history by Jeremy Brown.
New York: Touchstone, 2018.


New Books in October 2018

A quick round-up of the excellent new books we received last month, including an uplifting perspective on early modern health, and the story of 18th-century bowels!
















Rebecca Anne Barr, Sylvie Kleiman-Lafon & Sophie Vasset (eds.), Bellies, Bowels and Entrails in the Eighteenth Century (Manchester University Press: 2018)

Suman Seth, Difference and Disease: Medicine, Race, and the Eighteenth-Century British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Hannah Newton, Misery to Mirth: Recovery from Illness in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Hugh Cagle, Assembling the Tropics: Science and Medicine in Portugal’s Empire, 1450-1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

You can find all of these books on our New Books Display in Room 1 of the Library. For regular updates of our new books, do visit our LibraryThing page!



New Books: Medical Students and Left-Handers!

Our new books received in the last month include studies on medical education in Ireland, diagnostic practices in Victorian asylums, medical technology and public health in former Soviet regions, malaria in 19th-century India, and the history of left-handedness.

See our full range of new titles on LibraryThing: https://www.librarything.com/catalog/WelLibOxford/yourlibrary

Laura Kelly, Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017)
‘The first comprehensive history of medical student culture and medical education in Ireland’ over this hundred-year period. Using sources including periodicals, literary works, administrative records, and first-hand written and spoken accounts, Laura Kelly looks at the academic and extra-curricular experiences of students, how these experiences shaped their identities as medical professionals, and how they were perceived within their wider communities. The book also highlights divisions of religion, class and gender within this medical sphere.

Olga Zvonareva, Evgeniya Popova & Klasien Horstman (eds.), Health, technologies, and politics in post-Soviet settings: navigating uncertainties (New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017)
The introduction to this edited volume begins with a trend recognised by studies of science and technology; politics and healthcare mutually shape each other, and instead of bringing certainty through the solutions they offer, new medical technologies often stimulate ‘the emergence of new questions and dilemmas’ (p. 3). This uncertainty is multiplied when these technologies are situated in post-Soviet regions, which have their own unique political and social uncertainties. The book’s approach is to encourage ‘critical learning’ by bringing together the disciplines of science and technology studies, and post-socialism studies. Chapters include case studies on egg donation, radiation science, and the development of new drugs.

Jennifer Wallis, Investigating the body in the Victorian asylum (New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017)
A study which links the histories of medicine, psychiatry, science and the body, this book uncovers the common practice of late nineteenth-century doctors to seek bodily evidence for the causes and symptoms of mental illnesses, using both clinical tests on patients and postmortem dissections. Jennifer Wallis uses the West Riding Asylum in Yorkshire as her main case study. Taking an ‘anatomical approach that aims to mirror contemporary processes of investigation’ (p. 14), the chapters cover various body parts in turn: skin, muscle, bone, brain and fluids.

Howard I. Kushner, On the other hand : left hand, right brain, mental illness, and history (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017)
An exploration of the ‘medical and cultural history of left-handedness’. Alongside his own experiences as a left-hander, Kushner considers the relationships, medically or socially constructed, between handedness, linguistics, taboo, disability and social tolerance. Chapters include: the reasons that have been posited for left-hand preference, the ways in which different cultures measure and judge handedness, and the psychological stereotyping of left-handers as criminals or creative geniuses.

Rohan Deb Roy, Malarial subjects : empire, medicine and nonhumans in British India, 1820-1909 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)
In this study which links the history of medicine and science with empire and postcolonial studies, Rohan Deb Roy explores ‘the makings and persistence of malaria as an enduring diagnostic category’ (p.3) of disease and cure. In the long nineteenth century this category was not a straightforward medical diagnosis, but linked together various illnesses, plants, insects and other malarial objects which became, in the context of imperial rule, ‘objects of natural knowledge and social control’. Using British government and Bengali sources, chapters explore the growing of cinchona plants, the manufacture of quinine, and the making of the ‘Burdwan Fever’ epidemic.




New Books: January 2018

Recent arrivals at the Wellcome Unit Library: new books on surgery, syphilis, pregnancy, medical experimentation and global medicine! To consult any of our collections, contact us to arrange your visit to the library.

Keep up with all our new books via LibraryThing: https://www.librarything.com/catalog/WelLibOxford/yourlibrary



 Lindsey Fitzharris, The butchering art : Joseph Lister’s quest to transform the grisly world of Victorian medicine (London : Allen Lane, 2017)
‘The gripping story of how Joseph Lister’s antiseptic method changed medicine forever’.
Medical schools, operating theatres, hospitals, mortuaries and graveyards provide the setting for Lindsey Fitzharris’s account of Lister’s pioneering discoveries. Fitzharris concentrates on a quarter-century of dramatic change in the practice of surgery, from 1850-1875. Lister’s work on germs and infection in this period brought together science and medicine in a world where recovery from medical operations was often a matter of luck.

Monika Pietrzak-Franger, Syphilis in victorian literature and culture : medicine, knowledge and the spectacle of Victorian invisibility (New York, NY : Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017)
Described as ‘the first large-scale interdisciplinary study of syphilis in late Victorian Britain’, Monika Pietrzak-Franger’s book explores the disease in medical, social, political and cultural contexts, reflecting on how images and discussions of syphilis played a role in constructing individual and collective identities. The study highlights the dichotomy of visibility and invisibility surrounding syphilis: as an invisible virus which could produce highly visible symptoms, a disease which was highly debated in medical circles but difficult to diagnose and treat, and a source of private shame which was publicly referenced in various mediums of literature, art and music.

Mark Jackson (ed.), A global history of medicine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)
This book features chapters by specialists on the history of medicine in China, the Islamic World, North and Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and Australia and New Zealand, with starting and ending chapters framing the discussion. To begin, Mark Jackson discusses a challenge faced by historians of medicine: the need to take a global perspective whilst adequately considering the impact of specific local and temporal conditions. In the final chapter Sanjoy Bhattacharya takes smallpox as a case study for the way  these two dimensions should be integrated, arguing against ‘constrained global histories’ (p.257) which concentrate on powerful official health campaigns and assume worldwide trends but neglect the nuance of regional and local voices.

Jenifer Buckley, Gender, pregnancy and power in eighteenth-century literature: The Maternal Imagination (New York: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017)
Looking at medical writings, plays, poetry, novels and popular pamphlets, Jenifer Buckley explores the trope of ‘maternal imagination’ in the eighteenth century: the belief that a pregnant woman could use their mind to influence the development of their unborn child. Beginning with the fascinating case of Mary Toft, a woman who claimed to have metamorphosed her unborn baby into a rabbit, Buckley traces the ways in which maternity was viewed as performance in this period. For authors, the idea of maternal imagination linked to debates about gender, power and the interaction between mind and body, and pregnant women became a stage on which these concerns could be addressed.

Deirdre Benia Cooper Owens, Medical bondage : race, gender, and the origins of American gynecology (Athens : The University of Georgia Press, [2017])
This new study looks at how the discoveries of nineteenth-century gynaecologists such as John Peter Mettauer, James Marion Sims and Nathan Bozeman were informed by medical experimentation on enslaved black women and Irish immigrant women. Deirdre Benia Cooper Owens tells the stories of these women using a variety of sources including medical journals, oral history interviews, newspapers and hospital records. Cooper Owens looks specifically at the destructive ‘medical fictions’ created to justify exploitation, such as the theory that enslaved black women were more resistant to pain than white women, and more broadly at the ways slavery, medicine and science were intertwined, and how American ideas about race, gender and bodies in this period influenced medical practice.













New books in the Wellcome Unit Library

We have some new books in the library this month on a wide variety of topic.  You can check out our latest acquisitions on LibraryThing or come into the Library and browse of new books display in Library Room 1. To arrange an appointment to visit the Library, please contact us.

Books that have arrived this month include:

spitting blogSpitting Blood: the History of Tuberculosis by Helen Bynum (OUP, 2012)
WEL shelfmark RC309.A1 BYN 2012

Bynum’s book spans from the ancient world to the continued struggle to combat tuberculosis today. Richard Evans gives a positive review of Spitting Blood in Times Higher Education.  Chapter 1 is available to read online as a PDF on the OUP website.

Other related books in the Wellcome:

  • Experiment Eleven: Deceit and Betrayal in the Discovery of the Cure for Tuberculosis by Peter Pringle RM666.S573 PRI 2012
  • Disease, Class and Social Change: Tuberculosis in Folkestone and Sandgate, 1880-1930 by Marc Arnold RA644.T7 ARN 2012
  • Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination by Katherine Byrne PR149.T83 B97 BYR 2011

rabidRabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy (Viking, 2012)
WEL shelfmark RC148 WAS 2012

Like Bynum, Wasik and Murphy track the history of rabies from early Mesopotamia through to the 21st century.  Written by a journalist and a veterinarian, this is a very accessible text, but nonetheless goes beyond gory stories and lists a wide variety of academic sources in its bibliography.

Read a review and listen to a podast interview with the authors on NPR.

Other related books in the Wellcome

  • Mad Dogs and Englishmed by Neil Pemberton and Michael Worboys RA644.R3 PEM 2007
  • Mad dogs and Meerkats by Karen Brown RA644.R3 BRO 2011

seaHealth, Medicine and the Sea: Australian Voyages c.1815-1860 by Katherine Foxhall (Manchester University Press, 2012)
WEL shelfmark HV8950.A8 FOX 2012

Katherine Foxhall’s book traces the journeys of travellers from Britain to Austrialia, using their journey as the structure for her text.  She also discusses the health of convicts.  Examples of individuals are used to highlight her text. Foxhall examines how the changing environment on the journey to Austrialia affects conceptions of health.

Related books in the Wellcome:

  • Health and Medicine at Sea 1700-1900 by David Haycock and Sally Archer RC986 HEA 2009
  • Doctors at Sear: Emigrant Voyages to Colonia Australia by Robin Haines RA553 HAI 2005

The Great Manchurian Plague of 1910-1911: the Geopolitics of an Epidemic Disease by William Summers (Yale University Press, 2012)
WEL shelfmark RC178.C6 SUM 2012

Returning to the realm of infectious diseases, Summers’ book focuses on political and economic aspects of the plague, which involved Chinese, Japanese, Russian and  powers.

Related book in the Wellcome:

  • Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia: Politics and Publics in the Long Twentieth Century by Qizi Liang and Charlotte Furth RA527 HEA 2010

Related Links Search SOLO Library CatalogueSee our latest acquisitions on LibraryThing | Recommend a book for us to buy | Contact Us

New books in the Wellcome Unit Library

We have added some new titles to our book display in Library Room 1.  You can keep up to date with all our new acquisitions on LibraryThing or subscribe to our new books RSS feed.

Contagions: how commerce has spread disease
by Mark Harrison (Yale, 2012)
WEL shelfmark: RA651 HAR 2012

Written by the director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, Professor Mark Harrison, this books examines the relationship between disease and the social, political and economic effects of commerce.

The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch
by Contance Classen (University of Illinois Press, 2012)
WEL shelfmark: GN279.T68 CLA 2012

Dr Classen‘s latest volume on the senses examines the history of the sense of touch from the medieval to the modern period.  The author’s previous works (also available in the Bodleian Libraries) include The Book of Touch (2005) and Aroma: the cultural history of smell (1994)

Doctor Do-Good: Charles Duguid and Aboriginal Advancement, 1930s-1970s
by Rani Kerin (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011)
WEL shelfmark: GN666 KER 2011

Dr Charles Duguid was a Scottish doctor who moved to Austrialia and campaigned for the civil rights of Austrialian Aborigines.  This book is based on Dr Kerin‘s PhD thesis on Dr Duguid.

Duelling Surgeon, Colonial Patriot: The Remarkable Life of William Bland
by Robert Lehane (Austrialian Scholarly Publishing, 2011)
WEL shelfmark: DU172.B47 LEH 2011

William Bland was a London-born surgeon who was sent to Australia as a prisoner after a duel. He was actively involved in many aspect of Austrialiam society, including legislative development, the founding of eductional and medical institutions and a doctor and surgeon who published in various medical journals.

Related Links Contact Us | Recent Acquisitions on LibraryThing | Search for books on SOLO

New History of Medicine journal subscription

Histoire, Medecine et Sante

The Bodleian Libraries have subscribed to a new French History of Medicine journal entitled: Histoire, Medecine et Sante.  The peer-reviewed journal, which is from the University of Toulouse II, will be published twice a year and include research articles, discussion of sources and historiography and reviews in English and French. Article summaries are provided in French and English at the end of the issue.


The topic of the first issue is “pudeurs” which translates as modesty in English.  Articles include Anne Carol on medical cadavers and Elsa Nicol on women with cancer in the 19th century.  There is also a book review of Morbid Curiosities : Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain (OUP, 2011), which is available to consult in the Wellcome Unit Library and the Bodleian Library’s Gladstone Link, as well as electronically as an ebook.

Available to consult

The first issue is now available to request from the Bodleian Stacks via SOLO for members of the Bodleian Libraries. The requested volume can be consulted in the Bodleian Libraries Reading Room of your choice. A full list of contents is available on the Historiens de la sante blog.

Related Links
SOLO | Bodleian Library | Historiens de la sante blog | HMS journal webpage

The Neurological Patient in History

A few weeks ago we received a copy of Jacyna and Casper’s new book The Neurological Patient in History.  One the of the Wellcome Unit members, Lynsey Shaw, has reviewed the book for Reviews in History.  Lynsey is a Wellcome Trust funded doctoral student, studying administrative and therapeutic practices of the Royal Air Force neuropsychiatric branch during the Second World War.
Lynsey gives a positive review of The Neurological Patient in History, concluding that it

…is a valuable and welcome addition to the historiography. It not only places the neurological patient firmly in the spotlight, it also encourages readers to re-examine the patient using fresh and thought-provoking lines of enquiry.

The book is nestling on our rather full shelves in Library Room 2 at shelfmark RC338 NEU 2012.

Related links: SOLO library catalogue | Wellcome Unit Library contact page