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New World Diseases in Europe


  • How did people in 16th-century Europe explain the sudden appearance of the French Disease?
  • Is the French Disease the same as Syphilis?
  • What authorities did writers use to explain the efficacy of new drugs? What role does first-hand experience play in Hutten's accout of his experiences?

Primary Sources

  • Hutten von, Ulrich, De Morbo Gallico, A Treatise on the French Disease &c. (trans. Daniel Turner) (London, 1730), pp. 1-29; 37-48; 86-89. This is available online via the library catalogue (Eighteenth Century Collection Online)

Required Secondary Reading

  • Siraisi, Nancy G., Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: an Introduction to Knowledge and Practice, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, 1990), chapter 4.
  • OR
  • Stein, Claudia, ‘The Meaning of Signs: Diagnosing the French Pox in Early Modern Augsburg’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 88:4

Additional Secondary Readings

  • Arrizabalaga, Jon, Roger French and John Henderson, The Great Pox: The French Pox in Renaissance Europe, Yale University Press (New Haven, 1997).
  • Bylebyl, Jerome, ‘The Manifest and the Hidden in the Renaissance Clinic’, Medicine and the Five Senses, ed. William F. Bynum and Roy Porter, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 40-60.
  • Chapman, Andrew, ‘Astrological Medicine’, Health, Medicine and Mortality in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Charles Webster, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 175-300.
  • Cunningham, Andrew, ‘Identifying Diseases in the Past: Cutting through the Gordian Knot’, Asclepio, 2002, 54:1: 13-34.
  • Cunningham, Andrew, ‘Transforming Plague: The Laboratory and the Identity of Infectious Diseases’, The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Perry Williams, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 209-4.7
  • Cunningham, Andrew, and Roger French, Before Science: The Invention of the Friar’s Natural Philosophy, Scholar Press (Aldershot, 1996).
  • Jütte, Robert, ‘Syphilis and Confinement: Early Modern German Hospitals for Syphilitics’, Institutions of Confinement: Hospitals, Asylums, and Prisons in Western Europe and North America, 1500-1950, ed. Norbert Finszsch and Robert Jütte, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 97-116.
  • Kinzelbach, Annemarie, ‘Böse Blattern’ oder ‘Franzosenkrankheit’: Syphiliskonzepte, Kranke und die Genese des Krankenhauses in oberdeutschen Reichsstädten’, Medizin, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 1995, (6): 43-69.
  • Maclean, Ian, Logic, Signs and Nature in the Renaissance: The Case of Learned Medicine (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 282-294.
  • Porter, Roy, and William Bynum, eds., Medicine and the Five Senses, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1993).
  • Siena, Kevin P., Venereal Disease, Hospitals, and the Urban Poor: London's ‘Foul Wards’, 1600-1800 (Rochester, 2004).
  • Siraisi, Nancy, ‘Disease and Symptom as Problematic Concepts in Renaissance Medicine’, Res et Verba in the Renaissance, ed. Eckhard Kessler and Ian Maclean (Wiesbaden, 2002), pp. 217-40.
  • Wear, Andrew, ‘Epistemology and Learned Medicine in Early Modern Europe’, Knowledge and Scholarly Medical Traditions, ed. Don Bates (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 151-174.
  • Wear, Andrew, Roger French and I.M. Lonie, eds., The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1985).