This thesis addresses the dearth of published scholarship relating to the effect of
ill health upon the late Georgian family. While historians of medicine have failed to
adequately address questions relating to the family, so family historians have not fully
considered the effects that ill health had upon family life. To deal with such intimate
questions about the person, the individual voices of the dead must be heard through the
manuscripts and memorials that have been left. Critically, the integrity of such extant
material needs to be debated and confirmed.
Rationally, therefore, this thesis seeks to conflate the histories of medicine and
the family while comprehending critical subtexts that emerge on gender and
intergenerational relationships. Such a micro-research study demands a broad spectrum
of archival material, by region, class, age and family member, from which the single
voice may be heard. Axiomatically, cognisance has been taken of relevant debates
regarding the integrity of such material, diaries, journals and correspondence, while
ensuring that the emerging evidence may be perceived as representative, relevant and
From such diverse sources, rigorously analysed and synthesised, this thesis
presents new perspectives on the manner in which indisposition within the household
was managed, practitioner and family relationships across the generations evolved and
behaviours were effected by the diverse exigencies of sickness, accident, childbirth and
death. Such original insights into the medical landscape within the close bounds of the
sick household are essential if the lack of published scholarship on the effect of ill
health on the late Georgian family is to be rectified.
Department of History, Philosophy and ReligionFaculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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