The nineteenth century saw a host of new medical innovations which are held by many people today to be not only modern but essential, such as better sanitation, anaesthesia, widespread inoculation, the first routine surgical operations, the discovery of microbial infection or the acceptance of germ theory, and the rise of a professional, pragmatic tradition of medical care for all. All of these innovations contributed to the increased life expectancies of Europeans by the end of the century. Of course the century also saw many dubious movements such as therapeutic nihilism and the often aggressive struggles for professional and personal authority leading, for example, to the marginalization of so-called non-qualified practitioners such as midwives. — John van Wyhe

Further Reading

Bynum, W. F. Science and the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century, 1994.

Cherry, Steven. Medical Services and the Hospitals in Britain, 1860-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Cunningham, Andrew, & Perry Williams eds.The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine. 1992.

Desmond, Adrian. The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London, 1989.

Digby, Anne. Making a Medical Living: Doctors and Patients in the English Market for Medicine, 1720-1911. Cambridge, 1994.

Digby, Anne. The Evolution of British General Practice, 1850-1948, 1999.

Freidson, Eliot. Profession of Medicine, 1970.

Haley, Bruce. The Health Body and Victorian Culture, 1978.

Hardy, Anne. Epidemic Streets, 1994.

Holmes, Martha Stoddard. Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

Jones, Colin, and Roy Porter, eds. Reassessing Foucault: Power, Medicine, and the Body, 1994.

Lawrence, Christopher. Medicine in the Making of Modern Britain, 1700-1920, 1994.

Loudon, Irving. Medical Care and the General Practitioner 1750-1850, 1986.

Mitchell, Sally. "Medical Practice" in Victorian Britain: an Encyclopedia.

Mitton, Lavinia. The Victorian Hospital. 2nd ed. Botley, Oxford: Shire, 2008.

Newman, Charles. The Evolution of Medical Education in the Nineteenth Century, 1957.

Petersen, Alan, and Robin Bunton eds. Foucault, Health and Medicine, 1997.

Peterson, M. Jeanne. The Medical Profession in Mid-Victorian London. Berkley & London: University of California Press, 1978.

Smith, Francis B. The People's Health: 1830-1910. London: Croom Helm, 1979.

Scull, Andrew. The Most Solitary of Afflictions, 1993.

Waddington, Keir. Charity and the London Hospitals, 2000.

Worboys, Michael. Spreading Germs, 2000.

Wear, Andrew, ed. Medicine in Society, 1992.

Winter, Alison. Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain, 1998.

Witz, Ann. Professions and Patriarchy, 1992.

Last modified 4 July 2023