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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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1607-9
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: RRP £80.00, NOW £16.00
  • Published Date: July 2017
  • BIC Category: History of Medicine, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century, MEDICAL / History, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Medicine / History of medicine
  • Series: Social Histories of Medicine


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 is Professor of History at Keele University


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

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