The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Surgery

  • Thomas Schlich

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Periods and Topics

  3. Links

  4. Areas and Technologies

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 549-578

About this book


This handbook covers the technical, social and cultural history of surgery. It reflects the state of the art and suggests directions for future research. It discusses what is different and specific about the history of surgery - a manual activity with a direct impact on the patient’s body. The individual entries in the handbook function as starting points for anyone who wants to obtain up-to-date information about an area in the history of surgery for purposes of research or for general orientation. Written by 26 experts from 6 countries, the chapters discuss the essential topics of the field (such as anaesthesia, wound infection, instruments, specialization), specific domains areas (for example, cancer surgery, transplants, animals, war), but also innovative themes (women, popular culture, nursing, clinical trials) and make connections to other areas of historical research (such as the history of emotions, art, architecture, colonial history). 

Chapters 16 and 18 of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


Medicine Cancer Historiography Enlightenment Infection Anesthesia Operation Ethics emotions patients Open access

Editors and affiliations

  • Thomas Schlich
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Studies of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-1-349-95259-5
  • Online ISBN 978-1-349-95260-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site