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Casanova's Guide to Medicine (Hardback)

18th Century Medical Practice

P&S History Social History 18th Century

By Lisetta Lovett
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 352
Illustrations: 32 black and white
ISBN: 9781526779212
Published: 30th April 2021

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RRP £25.00

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Forget the stereotype!

Giacomo Casanova's (1725-1798) reputation as libertine has sadly eclipsed his talents as scholar, linguist, prolific writer and manqué doctor. Fortunately for us, he wrote his memoirs at the end of his life on the advice of his doctor to control his propensity to depression. Although these often have been harvested for information on political, cultural and social aspects of his time, the insights they give about medical practice and the lived experiences of illness have been largely neglected.

This book addresses this deficiency through exploring in detail what Casanova wrote on a variety of conditions that include venereal disease and female complaints, duelling injuries, suicide, skin complaints and stroke and even piles. These descriptions provide alternately grim and amusing insights about public health measures, the doctor-patient relationship, medical etiquette and the dominant medical theories of the era. To help the reader understand the historical significance of the medical subjects covered, the author integrates throughout the book an extensive historical context drawn from contemporary sources of information and current history of medicine literature

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About Lisetta Lovett

Lisetta is a retired National Health Service medical consultant psychiatrist whose first degree in physiology helps her interpret significant medical texts of the 17th and 18th centuries. As a medical student at Guy’s Hospital, London she took a Diploma in history of medicine. She maintained her interest in the subject resulting in a co-authored book on the history of medicine for busy health tutors and several academic talks in both the UK and USA. She has co- authored a book on medical ethics and has numerous publications in her specialty in academic journals. She was also a medical educator and as such introduced medical humanities to the undergraduate curriculum at Keele Medical School, allowing students to research the interface between any humanities discipline and medicine.

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