Skip to main content
  • Book
  • © 2020

Bodily Fluids, Chemistry and Medicine in the Eighteenth-Century Boerhaave School

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

(view affiliations)
  • Explores the importance of bodily fluids to the development of medical knowledge in the eighteenth century

  • Reveals the lives and works of the scientists in the Boerhaave School, which grew to become a European-wide community of physicians and chemists

  • Shows how chemical experimentation on bodily fluids allowed doctors to gain a better understanding of physiological processes, reinventing ancient humoral theory

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine (PSMEMH)

Buying options

eBook
USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-51541-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 1-27
  3. Savouring Alchemy

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 29-59
  4. The Nature of Blood

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 61-90
  5. Piss Prophets and Urine Matters

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 91-122
  6. Crying Over Spilt Milk

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 123-158
  7. Sweat It Out

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 159-194
  8. Semen in Flux

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 195-228
  9. Conclusion

    • Ruben E. Verwaal
    Pages 229-239
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 241-295

About this book

This book explores the importance of bodily fluids to the development of medical knowledge in the eighteenth century. While the historiography has focused on the role of anatomy, this study shows that the chemical analyses of bodily fluids in the Dutch Republic radically altered perceptions of the body, propelling forwards a new system of medicine. It examines the new research methods and scientific instruments available at the turn of the eighteenth century that allowed for these developments, taken forward by Herman Boerhaave and his students. Each chapter focuses on a different bodily fluid – saliva, blood, urine, milk, sweat, semen – to investigate how doctors gained new insights into physiological processes through chemical experimentation on these bodily fluids. The book reveals how physicians moved from a humoral theory of medicine to new chemical and mechanical models for understanding the body in the early modern period. In doing so, it uncovers the lives and works of an important group of scientists which grew to become a European-wide community of physicians and chemists.

Keywords

  • Dutch Republic
  • Herman Boerhaave
  • Physiology
  • Humoral theory
  • Saliva
  • Blood
  • Urine
  • Sweat
  • Breast milk
  • Semen
  • Chemistry
  • Physician
  • Doctor
  • Anatomy

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University, Durham, UK

    Ruben E. Verwaal

About the author

Ruben E. Verwaal is NWO Rubicon Research Fellow at the Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University, and curator of the medical collections at the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam. He specialises in history of early modern science and medicine, material culture, and critical medical humanities. 

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-51541-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)