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Healing Words

The Printed Handbills of Early Modern London Quacks


Roberta Mullini

During the English Restoration, London unlicensed health carers printed handbills as the easiest way to advertise their medical practices. In order to increase our awareness of irregular medical practitioners as a cultural phenomenon and examine their language, two collections of handbills have been transcribed. The study analyses the lexicon used to address readers, the traits of orality in written communication as well as the places where proprietary medicines were sold. Furthermore it looks closely at the visual impact of some handbills and the role of anti-quack satire at the end of the seventeenth century.
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3 Common Complaints in Corpora from the Medical Domain


A perfect Cure for Consumptions, Coughs, and all other Diseases of the Lungs, Rickets in Children, Gravel, the Stone, Pains of the Spleen, Dropsies, Jaundies both Black and Yellow, Agues, Feavers, Palsies; I have a perfect Cure for any that are Distracted. I seldom or never fail the Cure of Convulsion Fits, Falling Sickness, Mother Fits, Pains of the Head, Back, or Stomach, Pains or Lameness of the Limbs, also Pains of the Teeth, Ruptures, also Wens, Cancers in the Breast, Cankers, Ulcers, Fistulaes, &c.


Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go.

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