This lecture seeks to contest Jean-Pierre Goubert’s picture of eighteenth-century Brittany as a medical desert by examining the roles played by parish priests in shaping the medical experience of the peasantry. The parish priest in Brittany was largely responsible for implementing much of the charitable action unlocked by the Catholic Reformation. One part of this was the ‘rescuing’ of the peasantry from medical ignorance. The paper also argues that parish priests deserve to be seen as amateur practitioners in their own right.
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