Martin Lister and his remarkable daughters: art and science in the seventeenth century

Roos, Anna Marie (2018) Martin Lister and his remarkable daughters: art and science in the seventeenth century. Bodleian Library Press. ISBN UNSPECIFIED


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On 17 July 1681, the English naturalist and physician Martin Lister (1639-1712) wrote to his wife Hannah en route from York to France. The good doctor suffered from severe and chronic asthma throughout his life, and he took “the waters” on the Continent periodically to convalesce and rest away from a busy medical practice and growing family responsibilities. Lister was also a fervent Francophile, having studied medicine in Montpellier in the 1660s, and he would go on to write a bestselling travel guide to Paris telling his readers which curiosities to see, which wine to drink, and making perceptive comments about the differences between French habits and those of the English. The work was so popular that it was reprinted for the next three centuries in English and French for a cross-cultural audience.
Lister left his wife at home to care for their “sweet Babes,” urging her in his absence: “ . . . prithee again be merry, and make much of thy self and barnes [children].” He explained to Hannah that he left “to gain my health and ease my spirits, over tired with my calling and thoughts.” Hannah, left at home with the children, was apparently not so sanguine; Lister continued, “my deare I admire you can be so hard hearted as not given me a line all this time, this is my fourth Letter. And the second weeke of my journey only.” He promised his wife that he would come home by August, but pleaded “doe not let a week or so break any squares with thee and me,” and he promised to bring some presents from France.

Keywords:History, Martin Lister
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V380 History of Science
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:28443
Deposited On:22 Aug 2017 14:33

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