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Healing Options during the Plague: Survivor Stories from a Fourteenth-Century Canonization Inquest

Archambeau, Nicole (2011) Healing Options during the Plague: Survivor Stories from a Fourteenth-Century Canonization Inquest. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 85 (4). pp. 531-559. ISSN 0007-5140.

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Witness testimonies in the 1363 canonization inquest for Countess Delphine de Puimchel help us explore differing reactions to the first two waves of plague in 1348 and 1361, the diverse social and healing networks available to the sick, and the importance of affect in the healing process. Every witness in the inquest had lived through both the 1348 and 1361 epidemics. Their testimonies show that sufferers actively sought out healing even when they feared that none existed, healing practitioners continued to care for the sick through both waves of epidemic, and emotion played an important role in sufferers’ healing. Their language allows us to look at the interaction between miracle and medicine, the interaction of healing practitioners, and the expectations of sufferers during severe epidemics in the later Middle Ages.

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Additional Information:© 2011 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article emerged from the 2009 NEH Summer Seminar, “Disease in the Middle Ages,” lead by Monica Green and Walt Schalick. Their encouragement and inspiring seminar made the article possible. Through colleagues at the seminar, I met Luke Demaitre, and benefited greatly from his knowledge of medicine in southern France. I appreciated the assistance of archivists at the Bibliothèque Méjanes, the French Departmental Archives of Vaucluse and Bouche-du Rhône, and the Municipal Archive of Apt. My thanks to associates at IMéRA in Marseille, particularly Roger Malina and Nicolas Woodsworth. My sincere thanks to Anita Guerrini, Warren Brown, Patrick McCray, and the anonymous reviewers for commenting on early drafts.
Subject Keywords:plague, Mediterranean, epidemics, emotion, canonization, miracle, regimens of health
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120314-071924368
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Official Citation:Nicole Archambeau. "Healing Options during the Plague: Survivor Stories from a Fourteenth-Century Canonization Inquest." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 85.4 (2011): 531-559. Project MUSE. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. <>.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:29713
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:14 Mar 2012 16:16
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:43

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