Leprosy in Medieval England
Title Details

440 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

35 b/w. 6 line. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press

Leprosy in Medieval England

by Carole Rawcliffe

  • Description
  • Reviews
A major reassessment, based on hitherto unpublished manuscript material, of a disease whose history has attracted more myths and misunderstandings than any other.
One of the most important publications for many years in the fields of medical, religious and social history. Rawcliffe's book completely overhauls our understanding of leprosy and contributes immensely to our knowledge of theEnglish middle ages. This is a fascinating study that will be a seminal work in the history of leprosy for many years to come. EHR

Set firmly in the medical, religious and cultural milieu of the European MiddleAges, this book is the first serious, comprehensive study of a disease surrounded by misconceptions and prejudices. Even specialists will be surprised to learn that most of our stereotyped ideas about the segregation of medieval lepers originated in the nineteenth century; that leprosy excited a vast range of responses, from admiration to revulsion; that in the later Middle Ages it was diagnosed readily even by laity; that a wide range of treatment was available; that medieval leper hospitals were no more austere than the monasteries on which they were modelled; that the decline of leprosy was not monocausal but implied a complex web of factors - medical, environmental, social andlegal. Written with consummate skill, subtlety and rigour, this book will change forever the image of the medieval leper.

CAROLE RAWCLIFFE is Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia.
"This beautifully-written volume, primarily working from historical evidence, provides exactly the context needed in which to consider the archaeology of leprosy. [...] A highly thought-provoking and thoroughly recommended book, exploring attitudes to the sick, diagnosis and treatment, and the way of life of English leprosi." BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY
"[An] important contribution." MEDICAL HISTORY
"Probably one of the most important publications for many years in the fields of medical, religious and social history. Rawcliffe's book completely overhauls our understanding of leprosy and contributes immensely to our knowledge of the English middle ages. A well informed and richly-detailed study, inter-disciplinary in its attention to art, literature, law and hagiography as well as medical material. [...] This is a fascinating study that will be a seminal work in the history of leprosy for many years to come. It is extraordinarily detailed, meticulous, well written and well illustrated and will appeal to anyone concerned to learn more about disease and its impact on people's lives and communities." ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
"A comprehensive and detailed history. [...] A major contribution to the study of medieval society, particularly its values and perceptions." SOUTHERN HISTORY
"It is fair to say that Carole Rawcliffe has written the definitive study of leprosy in medieval England. Comprising more than 350 pages of text with illustrations, this meticulously researched work explores the topic from every imaginable angle by exploiting an impressive array of evidence." JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
"Provides a much-needed corrective to the general understanding of how medieval society viewed leprosy and treated its victims." SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE
"In this comprehensive, thoughtfully argued, compelling, fascinating, rigorous and extensively researched work, Carole Rawcliffe sets out to disabuse the reader of all the most dearly-held modern misconceptions of the medieval leper, and succeeds. [...] A compassionate, compelling, and important model for (re)writing the history of the disease." THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW
"An important book, written with a great deal of erudition." THE RICARDIAN, XVIII, 2008

Paperback

9781843834540

April 2009

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Title Details

440 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

35 b/w. 6 line. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press