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Post Peak Medicine is complete.
Medicinal Plants of the Isle of Man is still under construction. It is intended to complement the Herbal Medicine section of Post Peak Medicine for readers in the Isle of Man.
"The Doctor" is a 115 page poem written in 1887 by Manx poet Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897). Some readers may find it hard going because of its length and the fact that it is written in Manx dialect with extensive footnotes to explain what the words mean. Still, if you have the time, reading it is rewarding. The main storyline describes a fictitious family doctor, Dr Bell, in the Isle of Man in the 1880s who has two love affairs which end in tragedy. However, I am more interested in the description of the day to day life of the doctor, for example, how he deals with cholera epidemics, prepares his own medicines, treats the whole spectrum of illnesses and injuries, gets drunk frequently, and argues with the local householders about the dangers of middens (household garbage / compost pits) as vectors for disease. Despite his faults he is loved and supported by the community because of his lifelong commitment to the community. Those times, and those doctors, may come again.
"Manx Reminiscences" is an edited collection of notes made by Dr John Clague (1842-1908) about Manx music, customs and beliefs. It is possible that the ficitious "Dr Bell" in the poem by T.E.Brown may in part be based upon Dr Clague, because the two were contemporaries. Dr Clague was a well loved and respected doctor who practised for many years in the Castletown area. He had an intense interest in Manx customs, including traditional medicine beliefs, and made notes of many of these in his notebooks. Interestingly, most of the material he collected about Manx traditional herbal medicine was omitted from "Manx Reminiscences" when this was edited and published after his death by his close friends Mr and Mrs Moore. Perhaps the Moores thought these beliefs to be superstitions and not worthy of inclusion.
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