Edward Jarvis and the Medical World of Nineteenth-Century America

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9780870492396: Edward Jarvis and the Medical World of Nineteenth-Century America
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During the nineteenth century the theory and practice of medicine changed dramatically, but today relatively little is known about the careers of those responsible for reshaping the profession. This biographical study of Edward Jarvis (1803-1884), a leading physician, psychiatrist, and statistician, helps fill that gap. Focusing on the nature of American medicine in the last century, the book traces the development of social crises coincident with the growth of Jarvis's career and describes his responses to needs that he perceived in American medicine, mental care, and society in general. Jarvis's practice and philosophy of holistic preventive medicine typified an approach that altered the basic character of American medical theory. Reared in a devout household, instructed in Unitarian theology, trained in Common Sense philosophy, committed to a Baconian interpretation of science, and influenced by the rising doubt about the efficacy of traditional therapeutics, Jarvis contributed to a newer synthesis that merged medicine, morality, and social activism. He maintained-even when the specific germ theory began to transform the medical profession-that disease could not be understood apart from individual behavior or the state of society.

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Grob, Gerald N
Published by University of Tennessee Press (1978)
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