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Charles Bell and the Anatomy of Reform$
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Carin Berkowitz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226280394

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226280424.001.0001

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From the Anatomy Theater to the Political Theater

From the Anatomy Theater to the Political Theater

Journals and the Making of “British Medicine” in Early Nineteenth-Century London

(p.76) Chapter Three From the Anatomy Theater to the Political Theater
Charles Bell and the Anatomy of Reform

Carin Berkowitz

University of Chicago Press

Chapter three addresses in detail the creation of a British medical tradition and the use of anti-French rhetoric in the conservative reform movement in Britain. While this political rhetoric was sometimes developed within a virtual, journalistic space that brought together a wide-ranging community of readers, journals had yet to align communities whose politics overcame other social ties. The Lancet and the London Medical Gazette, weeklies that had very different political leanings (the former radical and the latter conservative), nonetheless ended up receiving very similar letters from readers in response to a proposal by Thomas Wakley (The Lancet’s founder) to overhaul the professional hierarchy in medicine. Wakley’s proposal for a London College of Medicine that would merge medicine and surgery, creating a newly elevated group of professional medical practitioners, seemed nothing short of a revolution in London medicine. Nonetheless, both those readers of the Lancet who claimed to support the College and those of London Medical Gazette who declared themselves opponents wrote similar letters to the editor of their respective journals about the virtues of reform as compared to revolution.

Keywords:   The London Medical Gazette, The Lancet, periodicals, Thomas Wakley, radical reform, conservative reform, London College of Medicine

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