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Dr Brianne Preston

Dr Brianne Preston

Project title

Medicine in Flux: An examination of Lazaro de Soto's exegesis of Places in Man

Supervisors

Hippocrates

Project description

My doctoral thesis examines Lázaro de Soto's commentary on the Hippocratic text, Places in Man. He includes this commentary in his 1594 volume, Tomus primus commentationum in Hippocratis libros. Castilian medicine in the Renaissance has been the subject of only limited study in Anglophone literature. De Soto himself has received even less attention. A contextualisation of this author and his commentary provides a unique opportunity. It allows us to broaden our understanding of how Renaissance physicians used ancient medicine.

I am using a case study approach. I examine what we can learn about the author of the commentary himself. I also extrapolate this information further. This will lead to a greater understanding of early modern medicine. My research uses both De Soto's work and his biography. I explore many of the issues that informed De Soto's medical understanding. These include his education and career, and wider medical movements, such as Vesalianism and humanism. I give special consideration to specific areas of medicine. These are anatomy, physiology, pathology and nosology, and precepts. I also consider De Soto's reception of the Hippocratic author's ideology.

In these explorations of De Soto's comments, certain trends begin to emerge. The first, which De Soto states explicitly in his dedication, is a concern for the utilitas publica, the common good. The author tries to provide useful medical information. He attempts to clarify the Hippocratic text for practical purposes.

De Soto also uses his commentary as a means to prove his humanist erudition. He cites ancient authors, both medical and literary.

Finally, he champions the contested Galenism. He rejects newer theories. He connects Galenism to Places in Man to strengthen Galenic authority.

In short, De Soto employs this commentary to further both his career and his Galenic understanding of medicine.

Funding awards

  • Overseas Research Students Award Scheme (ORSAS) 2010-2013
  • Iain M. Lonie PhD Completion Award (2011) – Aided in funding a three week research trip to the Institución Milà i Fontanals in Barcelona and the Instituto de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia López Piñero in Valencia
  • Missouri Bright Flight 2005-2008
  • Nola D. Quisenberry Hall of Sponsors Scholarship 2005-2008

Conference papers

  • Preston, B. (2013). "Lázaro de Soto's perceptions of progress in early modern medicine." Presented to Precedent and Progress: Change and continuity in the medieval and early modern world, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Preston, B. (2012). "Examining the life and work of Lazaro de Soto." Presented to the NEMS PGR Symposium: Past and Future Tenses, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Preston, B. (2012). "Harkening to Hippocrates: Anatomical reception and commentary in early modern Castile." Presented to the Newcastle University Postgraduate Forum, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Preston, B. (2012). "Understanding Hippocratic commentary through the work of Lázaro de Soto." Presented to the Newcastle University Postgraduate Forum, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Preston, B. (2010). "Lancing the Boil: A reassessment of the Justinianic Plague." Presented to the Newcastle University Postgraduate Forum, Newcastle upon Tyne

Other roles

  • Module leader: Love and Life in Rome and Verona (CAC1013)
  • Contributing lecturer: Approaches to the History of Western Medicine (HIS2078), The Long Shadow of Melancholy (CAC3056), Sex, Bodies and Identities in Antiquity (CAH2013), World Empires (HIS1025)
  • Seminar leader: World Empires (HIS1025), European History (HIS1027), Approaches to the History of Western Medicine (HIS2078), Human Dissection in Antiquity (CAC2045), The Long Shadow of Melancholy (CAC3056), In Alexander's Footsteps (CAH2006), Sex, Bodies and Identities in Antiquity (CAH2013), Tragedy, Comedy, History: The World of Greek Literature (CAC1014)

Qualifications

Newcastle University. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: October 2010 - January 2015. 
- PhD in Classics (emphasis in the History of Medicine). 
- Thesis: ‘Medicine in Flux: An examination of Lazaro de Soto’s exegesis of Places in Man’ (viva voce: December 2014; PhD awarded without corrections).

University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: September 2009- September 2010. 
- MSc in Classics (honours) 
- Dissertation: ‘Lancing the Boil: A reassessment of the Justinianic Plague’ (awarded with distinction).

Central Methodist University. Missouri, United States of America: September 2005-December 2008. 
- BSc in History, Biology (magna cum laude).

Interests

  • the history of medicine, especially the works of the Hippocratic Corpus
  • ancient medicine
  • the reception of ancient medicine in the Renaissance
  • early modern medical commentary and medical humanism
  • Spanish, particularly Castilian, history in the early modern era
  • the Justinianic Plague