The Renaissance Hospital

Healing the Body and Healing the Soul

John Henderson

View Inside Price: $74.00


November 14, 2006
448 pages, 234 x 156mm
80 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300109955
Cloth

In this fascinating and richly illustrated book, John Henderson takes us into the Renaissance hospitals of Florence, recreating the enormous barn-like wards and exploring the lives of those who received and those who administered treatment there. Drawing on an exceptional range of visual and documentary evidence, Henderson overturns the popular view of the pre-industrial hospital as a hellish destination for the dying poor. To the contrary, hospitals of the era developed specialized, professional care; became important centers of artistic patronage; and served a large patient population, only ten percent of whom died during their stay. The book explores the civic role of Renaissance hospitals, their beautiful architecture and interior design, and their methods of medical treatment that continue to influence healthcare practices today.
John Henderson is professor of Italian Renaissance history in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London, and fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. Among his previous books is The Great Pox: The French Disease in Renaissance Europe, coedited with J. Arizabalaga and R. French and published by Yale University Press.

"This beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched study surveys Florentine hospitals from their earliest appearances around the year 1000 to the reforms of Cosimo I in 1542. It concentrates, however, on the period after the Black Death from 1348 up to the 16th century, when sources such as hospital accounts, pharmacy books, and tax registers or medical practitioners either became available for the first time or increased considerably in number. The book offers a holistic account of the hospital."—Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., New England Journal of Medicine

"A good, even inspiring, story and some great art; add extra stars if you are a physician or a nurse with an interest in the history of your profession, or a fan of Renaissance art and culture, or better yet both."—John Henderson, Greenwich Times

"Any future study of the Renaissance hospital, whether in Britain, Germany, Poland, or elsewhere, must take into account the new ways of thinking about the place of the hospital in society that [Henderson] has introduced in this book."---Vivian Nutton, Times Literary Supplement

"John Henderson's weighty history book, The Renaissance Hospital: Healing the Body and Healing the Soul, is a fascinating and wide ranging account of the evolution of hospitals and healthcare provision in Florence, set against an extraordinary backdrop of widersocial and scientific development."---HD Magazine

"Richly informative. . . . A distinguished contribution to the growing body of recent, and revisionist, literature on medieval and early modern hospitals. . . . This is an admirable study, which will be of equal interest to social, religious, and urban historians and to historians of medicine and health."—Nancy G. Siraisi, Renaissance Quarterly

"A presentation of Florentine Renaissance hospitals that should be of interest to medieval and Renaissance historians, and not only to historians of medicine. . . . Experts in Renaissance studies and Florentine history, historians of medicine, and historians of art will find in this book a mine of information dug out from a plethora of sources, many of which are archival. They will be grateful for John Henderson's achievement in reconstructing Florence's Renaissance hospitals with such detailed precision and clarity."—Joseph Ziegler, English Historical Review
The Great Pox
The French Disease in Renaissance Europe

Jon Arrizabalaga, John Henderson, and Roger French

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