This book is the first transcription and extensive commentary on a fascinating but almost entirely overlooked manuscript compilation of medical recipes and letters, which is held in the University of Nottingham. Collected by the Marquess and Marchioness of Newcastle, William and Margaret Cavendish, during the 1640s and 1650s, this manuscript features letters of advice, recipes, and sundry philosophical and medical reflections by some of the most formidable and influential physicians, philosophers, and courtly scholars of the early seventeenth century. These include “Europe’s physician” Theodore de Mayerne, the adventurer and courtier Kenelm Digby, and the natural philosopher, poet, and playwright Margaret Cavendish. While the transcription and accompanying annotations will allow a diverse array of readers to appreciate the manuscript for the first time, the introduction situates the Cavendishes’ recipe collecting habits, medical preoccupations, natural philosophical views, and politics within their social, cultural, and philosophical contexts, and draws out some of the most significant implications of this important document.
Justin Begley is a Humboldt Fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München who focuses on early modern literature and intellectual history, and particularly the histories of science, medicine, and the book. Along with publishing on Cavendish, Begley has also written on major figures including Nehemiah Grew, Pierre Gassendi, Thomas Tryon, and Kenelm Digby.
Benjamin Goldberg is a Associate Professor of Instruction at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. He is a historian and philosopher of science whose work focuses on the intersection of natural philosophy and medicine in late Renaissance and early modern Europe. His work ranges from studies of medical recipe collections to explorations of the history of anatomical method in William Harvey and Descartes to the idea of seeds in Jean Fernel.