Europe's Physician

The Various Life of Theodore de Mayerne

Hugh Trevor-Roper

View Inside Price: $35.00


November 30, 2006
464 pages, 234 x 156
12 illus.
ISBN: 9780300112634
Cloth

Among the papers of Hugh Trevor-Roper, who died in 2003, was a manuscript to which he had repeatedly turned for more than thirty years, but never published.  Attracted by the diverse life and vivid personality of Sir Theodore de Mayerne (1573–1655), the most famous physician in Europe of his time, Trevor-Roper pursued him across national and intellectual frontiers to uncover the details of his extraordinary life. 
Exploring an array of English and European sources, Trevor-Roper reveals the story of the pioneering Swiss Huguenot doctor who mixed medicine with diplomacy, with political intrigue, with secret intelligence, and with artistic interests at the courts first of Henry IV of France and then of James I and Charles I of England. A true “renaissance man,” Mayerne’s interests were broad, and due to considerable conspiratorial talent, he became a participant in bluff and intrigue at the highest levels.
The most ambitious and perhaps the most original of all Trevor-Roper's books, written in his luminous prose, this is a major work of political and intellectual history that presents a whole period in a fresh and vivid light.

The late Hugh Trevor-Roper was Regius Professor of History at the University of Oxford. His many previous books include the bestselling biography of Sir Edmund Backhouse, The Hermit of Peking, and The Last Days of Hitler.

“This is a marvelous work, exhibiting [Trevor-Roper’s] scrupulous research, a narrative style which is a sheer pleasure to read, and an effortless intermingling of small-scale personal detail and large-scale painting of the big picture.”—Noel Malcolm, All Souls College, Oxford

"Trevor-Roper wrote this as a 'layman's book,' and it is less a detailed history of medicine than a portrait of a remarkable man in the still more remarkable social and intellectual world of the 17th century. . . . Trevor-Roper posthumously demonstrates his mastery as a historian, detective and narrative stylist. One hopes there are yet more unpublished manuscripts lurking among his papers, but if there are not, then this book stands as a fine capstone to a brilliant career."—Publishers Weekly

"Trevor-Roper pieced together [Mayerne’s] fascinating and far-ranging story from fragments—archival material in eight languages from six different countries—but the narrative is always lively and fluent. . . . Trevor-Roper takes a complicated life and then weaves it into the even more complicated topography of the French wars of religion and the titanic clash between the Catholic and Protestant powers, the echoes of which still reverberate within the European Union. Europe’s Physician is beautifully written, with the charm and the grace of a scholar who is the master of all he surveys."—Peter N. Miller, New Republic

"...a marvellous evocation of medicine, religion and high politics in 17th Century Europe."---Noel Malcolm, The Sunday Telegraph

" Historically, this book is a triumph, revelaing through a thorough mastery of the relevant French, Italian, German and Latin sources, how European concerns - military, diplomatic, intellectual - impinged on English political life and shaped its course to a degree that few English historians have fully credited."---John Adamson, The Sunday Telegraph

"Trevor-Roper's exhaustive research has led to much new material about de Mayerne's extracurricular activity in the field of "royal diplomacy"...[written with] clear style and enjoyable flourishes...[this book] is a model of liveliness and clarity."---Peter Parker, The Daily Telegraph

"Blair Worden has marshalled Trevor-Roper's manuscript into a fascinating biography of a man who crossed the worlds of medicine, diplomacy, art and religion."---Jerry Brotton, BBC History Magazine

"Professor Worden has done well to extract this handsome biography from the Dacre papers. How much more unpublished work is still among them? This one proves that the author never lost his capacity for original research or for writing a big book, even while he was publishing acute historiograph on a small scale."---Eric Christiansen, The Spectator

"This is an intellectually exciting biography, one that deploys original research to reach universal conclusions. Trevor-Roper's scholarly reputation was seriously damaged by his careless identification of the fraudulent Hitler diaries. His life of Mayerne should contribute towards its restoration."---Adam Sisman, Literary Review

"...a compelling mixture of medicine and intrigue."---Dominic Sandbrook, The Daily Telegraph

"Europe's Physician paints a robust picture of a larger than life character...Trevor-Roper has written a long but lively book of immense scholarship that will delight those with interests in the Renaissance and Reformation."---Alan Cane, Financial Times Magazine

“[This book] is an immensely detailed, prodigiously researched opus about a fascinating figure. The pre-eminent medical doctor of his time, Theodore de Mayerne. . . . It is the immense learning and broad historical scope that Trevor-Roper brings to this project which invest it with such richness.”—Martin Rubin, San Francisco Chronicle
 
 
 
 

"Hugh Trevor-Roper, who died in 2003, was almost certainly the most gifted of the remarkable generation of British historians who did their best work in the decades after World War II. . . . Europe's Physician is a quieter book than most of Trevor-Roper's previous works, but his sense of the human comedy is still in evidence; and there is much sly, Gibbonian humor."—Keith Thomas, New York Review of Books
 

"...if you want to be reminded that the purpose of a great history book, as of a great play or a great novel, is to transform how you see the world around you, then you should read this last relic of a lost age. Great history books are few and far between. This is one."---David Wooton, Times Literary Supplement

"[An] absorbing study of Theodore de Mayerne, a once famous but now-forgotten 17th-century royal physician and occasional diplomat/spy. The biographer, a lifelong student of diplomacy and the son and brother of doctors, brings his intriguing subject to life."—Atlantic Monthly

"The amount of research that Trevor-Roper did to present de Mayerne's life in its entirety is impressive. The thoughtfulness and skill of Worden in getting the manuscript completed and edited are noteworthy. . . . An interesting read both for the scholar and one who enjoys biographies."—Frederick Holmes, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

"Trevor-Roper provides us with a look into the very full life of a talented physician, and I recommend this biography heartily for those interested in the roots of modern medicine. . . . Kudos to those who found, polished and published this pleasing book."—Ian Ross, Canadian Medical Association Journal

"The extraordinary detective work underlying this book will establish it as the foundation for any further appraisals of Mayerne's life and as one of the richest and most enduring biographies of our day."—Brian Nance, Medical History

"This book is a pleasure to read. . . . His is a fascinating story, and we can be grateful to worden for conveying Trevor-Roper's account of it into print at last."—Mary E. Fissell, American Historical Review
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