Turn on thread page Beta

Please read my essay and tell me if I'm doing it right (History A2) watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    How far did the printing press advance medicine during the Renaissance?

    In this essay I will examine how the invention of the printing press impacted on the study and efficacy of medicine during the Renaissance.

    An undisputed historical and statistical fact is the increased scale of book printing that moveable type allowed over the previously and rapidly obsolete method of manual scripting,

    “(500 was an average print run in the early days)...A new world of communication...In a historical eye-blink, scribes were redundant”1.

    “Printing...allowed books to be produced cheaply and in large numbers.”2

    An increase in books is beneficial in that the contents within are available for study and distribution. John Man demonstrates the advantage of the new form of moveable type printing over the former of manual scripting, “A copied book just sits there, waiting for readers, one by one; a successful printed book is a stone dropped in water, its message rippling outwards to hundreds, thousands, millions.”3

    However, there is also a chance that literature with detrimental, or erroneous content will be circulated, causing misinformation on a scale much larger than was possible via copying by hand. Furthermore, John Man fails to convey the benefits of successful medical books, or the delay from a progressive text’s publishing to it’s implementation and acceptance in its field. Roy Porter exemplifies printing’s influence in maintaining belief in medically incorrect teachings. Concerning the uses of blood:

    As ever, Galen* was the authority...It carried nourishment and was ’consumed’...This model held sway for nearly a millennium and a half...Treasured as the liquid of life.”4
    Although successful and popular at the time, Galen’s works were flawed in many aspects, slowing the progress of medicine as its popularity equated, with many people and for many reasons, with truth.

    John Man comments on the incidence of pre-eminent books within a mountainous mass of literature:

    “A few will be sublime expressions of mankind’s creative genius that will enrich the reader and culture...You could heap the remainder on a veritable Alp of dross.”5 The Gutenberg Revolution page 4

    Despite being in the context of modern materials on display at a well-known book fair, the description can also be applied to Renaissance literature. While works were published in the Renaissance that were of a great help to the betterment of medical knowledge, many more were useless. Other books, that might now be classed as ’dross’ or inaccurate, were not disregarded. Rather, they were studied and became the basis for progress:

    “A time of critical appraisal of existing knowledge, a re-examination of ancient learning...an appreciation of both first-hand observation and an ideal for improvement.”6 Medicine A History of Healing page 76

    “New Age publishing, catering to the belief that the past was a treasury of ancient wisdom.”7 The Gutenberg Revolution page 253-254

    With such an ethos, there is of course progress to be made. Ancient errors could be discovered and corrected, and any correct knowledge can be built upon and improved. However, the content of studied literature dictates which areas progress can be made in. With an ideal to find answers in the past, there is a danger that current threats to health will be ignored or missed entirely. A retrospective culture looking one thousand years and more in the past will have most likely changed and developed further than the period being studied. “The obsession with obtaining an internal view of the human form reflected contemporary thought.”8 Medicine p 127

    A prevalent interest in anatomy, due largely to the works of Galen, neglects other areas of medicine separate from the body. For example, the cause and cure of illness, and public health.

    Thanks.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hmmmm, it's OK but I get the impression on reading it that some of the quotes are just thrown in there without any kind of qualification. Also you don't really seem to have a definite thesis right from the beginning. You need to make sure the quotes you use are there to back up a point you are making, and try to weave them into the text a little more fluently. I think you also need to establish right at the beginning exactly what your argument is going to be in the essay. I try to think of essays in this way:
    Introduction: Tell the marker what your answer to the question is going to be.
    Main Body: Answer the question directly, with each paragraph making its own point. Make sure the content of the main section coheres with your introduction and conclusion.
    Conclusion: Remind the marker that you have actually answered the question.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    But the essay has to be source base, so anything I use I have to get from quotes. That's why I'm having some trouble. I'm going to the library tomorrow to get some more books. Thanks, more input please.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Don Quixote)
    But the essay has to be source base, so anything I use I have to get from quotes. That's why I'm having some trouble. I'm going to the library tomorrow to get some more books. Thanks, more input please.
    Yes, using quotes is fine, but I think you need to use them differently. Rather than just throwing a few quotes in try and use them to validate the conclusion you come to having evaluated all the sources and done your research. For example, rather than this bit


    "An undisputed historical and statistical fact is the increased scale of book printing that moveable type allowed over the previously and rapidly obsolete method of manual scripting,

    “(500 was an average print run in the early days)...A new world of communication...In a historical eye-blink, scribes were redundant”1.

    “Printing...allowed books to be produced cheaply and in large numbers.”2"


    you could perhaps phrase the same thing like this:


    "Mr X argued that "printing allowed books to be produced cheaply and in large numbers", and this may perhaps explain why the introduction of moveable type led to an increase in the scale of book printing."


    This analytical approach both ensures that you are using relevant source material and also incorporates it into the text. Simply making a statement in a sentence and then putting down two quotes at the end does not lead to a fluent essay. You need to think of your quotes as supporting and providing evidence for the point you are trying to make about the topic.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Ugh...Okay...

    “(500 was an average print run in the early days)...A new world of communication...In a historical eye-blink, scribes were redundant”1.

    “Printing...allowed books to be produced cheaply and in large numbers.”2

    I would have thought the second quote was self explanitory ('the major boon of the printing press is that it enabled)...I thought of an evaluation of the first. The 'new world' may be misleading as printed books were legible only to educated scholars and the upper class, a minority of the population. Also, this was based mainly in Italy and took time to spread throughout Europe. Then say however....the books produced by this method were only the most popular, many of which were irrelevant or detrimental to the progress of medicine.

    Is that right? Thanks. BTW this is only a bit of my essay, I just want to find out how to analyse sources effectively (and didn't really get your first response). A small part of someone's evaluation of a source would be good. Help please, I really am stuck.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Someone...
 
 
 
Poll
Which accompaniment is best?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.