'As to the plan of this work … we think Dr. Baillie has done wrong' : changing the study of disease through epistemic genre in Georgian Britain
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In the eighteenth century, the writing of case histories, incorporating findings at post-mortem, was central to how the study of disease was practised. The use of this epistemic genre reflected the work of medical practitioners with their patients. By contrast, Matthew Baillie's Morbid Anatomy (1793) was a work of anatomy on the subject of disease that promoted an anatomical approach to the study of disease and stemmed from his own, different practice, which was anatomical. This was criticized by contemporaries who were sceptical that such an approach would prove useful to the physician's practice. Baillie's work took on the features of anatomy books, and omitted many of the features central to the writing of case histories, such as patient narratives. Instead he focused on describing, in generalized terms, the changes in structure caused by disease. These descriptions were valued by contemporaries, who incorporated his descriptions into their own works, changing the way that cases included anatomical findings. At the same time, Baillie's later editions contained more features of cases, such as descriptions of symptoms. Thus, individual books worked to integrate epistemic genres, and change practice in the study of disease.
Bellis , R T 2020 , ' 'As to the plan of this work … we think Dr. Baillie has done wrong' : changing the study of disease through epistemic genre in Georgian Britain ' , Notes and Records of the Royal Society . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2019.0036
Notes and Records of the Royal Society
Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2019.0036