A colorful and absorbing portrait of James Parkinson and the turbulent, intellectually vibrant world of Georgian London.
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia, with 60,000 new cases each year in the United States alone, yet few know anything about the man the disease is named after. In 1817two hundred years years agoJames Parkinson (1755–1824) defined this mysterious ailment so precisely that we still diagnose Parkinson's Disease today by recognizing the symptoms he identified.
The story of this remarkable man’s contributions to the Age of the Enlightenment is told through his three seemingly disparate passions: medicine, politics and fossils. As a political radical, Parkinson was interrogated over a plot to kill King George III and was in danger of exile. But simultaneously, he was helping Edward Jenner set up smallpox vaccination stations across London and writing the first scientific study of fossils in English, jump-starting a national craze. He is one of the intellectual pioneers of "the age of wonder," forgotten to history, but Cherry Lewis restores this amazing man to his rightful place in history with her evocative portrait of the man and his era.
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About the Author
Cherry Lewis is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. She is the author ofThe Dating Game: One Man’s Search for the Age of the Earth(Cambridge University Press).
Table of Contents
Parkinson family tree vi
Prologue: A hole in the head ix
1 Living and bleeding in London 1
2 The hanged man 23
3 Fear of the knife 31
4 The radical Mr. Parkinson 45
5 The Pop Gun Plot 67
6 Trials and other tribulations 81
7 Dangerous sports 103
8 A pox in all your houses 117
9 The fossil question 133
10 A sublime and difficult science 147
11 'Tis a mad, mad world in Hoxton 165
12 The name of the father, and of the son 187
13 The shaking palsy 203
14 Reforms and rewards 221
Epilogue: A fragment of DNA 243
A few words of thanks 257
Notes and references 261
Picture credits 299