Seminar – Vernacular Medicine and “Agents of Knowledge” in Late Seventeenth-Century London

24 woe
24 november 2021

All are invited to join the next meeting of the History of Knowledge Seminar Series.

Elaine Leong (UCL)

‘Vernacular Medicine and “Agents of Knowledge” in Late Seventeenth-Century London’


‘This talk focuses on two historical figures – George Hartman (fl. 1668-82) and Christopher Packe (fl. 1670-1711) – largely familiar to historians as the English translators of Sir Kenelm Digby and Johanna Rudolf Glauber’s works. However, further investigation into the printed worlds of Hartman and Packe reveal that their translation and book production activities were part and parcel of a commercial medical enterprise offering a range of drugs and health technologies to Londoners. Building on recent studies depicting translators as knowledge-mediators and go-betweens, I unpack Hartman and Packe’s work as “agents of knowledge” and recover a world where the production and transfer of textual knowledge, expertise and experiential know-how and medical goods were closely intertwined, and promoted as connected commercial health-services.’


Elaine Leong is a Lecturer in the Department of History at University College London (UCL) where she holds a Wellcome University Award for the project ‘Technologies of Health c. 1450-1750’. Before joining UCL, she led the Minerva Research Group “Reading and Writing Nature in Early Modern Europe” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Her monograph Recipes and Everyday Knowledge: Medicine, Science and the Household in Early Modern England, published by the University of Chicago Press 2018, was awarded the Margaret W. Rossiter Prize by the History of Science Society. Her current book project Reading Riviere in Early Modern England, uses the story of Lazara Riviere’s (1589-1655) bestselling Praxis medica/The Practice of Physick to explore reading and writing practices as processes of knowledge production, maintenance and transfer.

More Information

Date: Wednesday 24 November 2021
Time: 15:30-17:00 (CET)
Place: Online (Microsoft Teams)
* Please click here to attend the meeting *

This seminar series is organized by Lukas M. Verburgt and Elske de Waal with support from the Descartes Centre, NIAS, and the Huizinga Instituut. Please visit our website for the full 2021-22 program.

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