Monday, March 23, 2009

New at PG: Darwin bio, 17th C medicine

New public domain releases this week from Project Gutenberg (in HTML, plain text, and Plucker formats):

Life of Charles Darwin by George Thomas Bettany (1887)

An early biography.

Medicine in Virginia, 1607-1699 by Thomas P. Hughes (1957)

It's the 17th century in the new colonies and humoral theory is waning, while illnesses and their putative causes and management are among the strongest social and political forces. Lots of quotations from original sources, like:
In September the weather usually breaks suddenly, and there falls generally very considerable rains. When the weather breaks many fall sick, this being the time of an endemical sickness, for seasonings, cachexes, fluxes, scorbutical dropsies, gripes, or the like which I have attributed to this reason. That by the extraordinary heat, the ferment of the blood being raised too high, and the tone of the stomach relaxed, when the weather breaks the blood palls, and like overfermented liquors is depauperated, or turns eager and sharp, and there's a crude digestion, whence the name distempers may be supposed to ensue.
Among the most deadly and universal diseases is Seasoning, which appears seasonally in July and August and affects nearly all new arrivals from Europe.


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