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Goubert Jean-Pierre, Malades et médecins à Saint-Malo à la veille de la Révolution

Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2013
Colin Jones
p. 129
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Goubert Jean-Pierre, Malades et médecins à Saint-Malo à la veille de la Révolution, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2013, 176 p.

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1Jean-Pierre Goubert’s, Malades et médecins en Bretagne, 1770-90, published in 1974 was an important contribution to the renewal of the history of medicine at that time, and in particular the move to develop a social history of medicine which took account of the views of patients as much as of practitioners. His new book, Malades et médecins à Saint-Malo à la veille de la Révolution covers in commendable detail one Breton city and its hinterland. It not only observes the same chronological framework as the earlier work but also very largely its conceptual and methodological premisses. The religious mentalités of the inhabitants are contrasted with the la médecine savante, only slowly emerging from a Galeno-Hippocratic straitjacket. A more clinical approach was combined with state service—notably over epidemics and public health—marshalled by the newly-established Société royale de Médecine. The concept of ‘medicalisation’ provided the lodestar for the earlier work and even though it has been much criticised in the interim, is here deployed unqualified. The model seems a little problematic not least because Saint-Malo was so very different from the remainder of the province, and, as Goubert shows, could boast, proportionately, extremely large numbers of trained medical practitioners. Some of the most interesting facets of the Saint-Malo scene—notably the import of colonial commodities often used in medicines, and the role of ship surgeons in the area—are fascinating, but leave us wanting more. Despite these reservations—plus the absence of footnotes or endnotes (despite a lengthy list of sources)—there is no doubt that this is a very rich and fascinating addition to our understanding of the medical landscape at this particular moment in the city’s history.

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Colin Jones, « Goubert Jean-Pierre, Malades et médecins à Saint-Malo à la veille de la Révolution »Histoire, médecine et santé, 7 | 2015, 129.

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Colin Jones, « Goubert Jean-Pierre, Malades et médecins à Saint-Malo à la veille de la Révolution »Histoire, médecine et santé [En ligne], 7 | printemps 2015, mis en ligne le 29 mai 2017, consulté le 20 juin 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Colin Jones

Queen Mary, University of London

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Histoire, médecine et santé est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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