Late Modern English Medical Texts (LMEMT)

When finished, LMEMT will be the third and final part of the Corpus of Early English Medical Writing 1375–1800. The corpus will be compatible with the earlier two corpora, but the compilers will also be careful to take into consideration changes in the extralinguistic circumstances of medical writing.

Basic information

Time of compilation: 2010-2015 (estimated)
Status: In preparation
Estimated size: 2 million words
Language: Late Modern English
Number of texts/samples: TBA
Period: 1700-1800


Compilers: Irma Taavitsainen (University of Helsinki), Päivi Pahta (University of Tampere), Turo Hiltunen, Anu Lehto, Ville Marttila, Raisa Oinonen, Maura Ratia, Carla Suhr, Jukka Tyrkkö (University of Helsinki)

Research assistant: Heikki Rajala, Emanuela Costea

Student assistants: Sami Kalliomäki, Mirella Klinga

Basic information

The eighteenth century was a period of great uncertainty in science and medicine. New innovations and ideas had more or less replaced the old scholastic beliefs, but no new system had yet emerged as the dominant one. Consequently, the medical marketplace was under constant shifts and turns. The center of medical learning had moved to Edinburgh, and much of the new medical literature originated from there. The medical establishment was in a state of constant turmoil, while various urban ailments and problems started surfacing like never before. The hospital system also started developing during the eighteenth century and one of the new text types to emerge was institutional writing concerning the provision of health care in hospitals, prisons and the military. Academic journals started to appear in greater numbers, and demographic studies moved medical empiricism to a new level.

Unlike the earlier two corpora in the series, LMEMT will cover only a single century. This is necessary to allow sufficient representation of the widening diversity within the field of medicine. Like EMEMT, the third corpus will focus on printed texts, and cover a wide range of texts from the most learned treatises and journal articles to health guides and popular books on medicine. Newspapers and other periodicals, an emergent type of writing in the seventeenth century, grew into a major medium of communication in the eighteenth century. This development will be reflected in LMEMT as well.

New features in LMEMT

With LMEMT, we are updating our annotation paradigm to TEI XML. This will allow a much more accurate representation of all the features found in the original artifact and also make it possible to annotate features of content such as the names of persons and locations, dates, etc.

The new annotation model will also affect metadata. While we will maintain a category system similar to that of MEMT and EMEMT, there will be more flexibility when it comes to searching for texts on the basis of topic, biographic and bibliographic features, and other background information. This approach will better facilitate research questions focused on specific contexts or types of writing, such as translated texts.