Elisabetta Lonati Università degli Studi di Milano „The language of medicine in the Philosophical Transactions: Observations on style.”


Medicine is one of the most fully represented disciplines in the Philosophical Transactions (PT), particularly in the materials dating from before the establishment of medical societies and of specialized journals. Medical events were recorded and described, data were collected, interpreted, and discussed. The need for a faster communication among professionals brought about new written forms. Shorter texts were adopted to exchange up‑to‑date information.

This investigation focuses on a selected number of texts to verify the origin and the nature of any rhetorical and stylistic changes which may have occurred in the PT during the eighteenth century. The selection of extracts constitutes the basis for a detailed discussion of rhetorical and stylistic issues.

Between 1702 and 1801 medical writing in the PT undergoes major changes: these are gradual shifts along a continuum highlighting an essentially author-centered approach at the outset of the century and an object-centered perspective at the end of the period.

 Keywords: eighteenth century, Philosophical Transactions, medicine, research article, style.

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