S. Weir Mitchell, 18291914

Philadelphia's Literary Physician

By (author) Nancy Cervetti

Paperback - £27.95

Publication date:

15 March 2016

Length of book:

312 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271054049

This modern biography provides a comprehensive and balanced view of a legendary figure in American medicine. Controversial because of his fierce fight against women’s rights, S. Weir Mitchell achieved stunning success through his experimentation with venomous snakes, treatment of Civil War soldiers with phantom limbs and burning pain, and creation of the rest cure to treat hysteria and neurasthenia. Mitchell’s life was extraordinary—interesting in its own right and as a case study in the larger inquiry into nineteenth-century medicine and culture.

“Cervetti has produced an elegantly written, incredibly detailed, and impressively comprehensive narrative of Mitchell’s journey from the insecure son of an overbearing father to the highly esteemed and influential researcher and clinician in physiology and neurology to a kind of medical public intellectual and literat[us].”

—Richard A. Meckel, Journal of American History