Investigating genre through title-pages: Plague treatises of the Stuart period in focus
Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English (VARIENG), University of Helsinki
The present article deals with the genre of plague treatises of the Stuart period. The focus is on title-pages and how information about the genre can be gained by investigating them. In the study of historical texts and genres, title-pages as well as other paratextual elements have only recently started to attract attention from scholars. Plague treatises are intriguing as they typically combine elements from both medical and religious writing. I chose to look at texts that contain religious discourse in their title-page to see how it correlates with the content. Qualitative assessment of the material was done by analysing textual labels featured on the title-page and the type of discourse these labels referred to. The results showed that textual labels, especially with regard to defining medical content, were quite accurate. In contrast, religious argumentation was at times only subtly advertised. The linguistic analysis was complemented by the visual, i.e. examining highlighted items on the title-page. The most prominent item was the topical label plague, but primary textual labels were also highlighted which suggests that textual labels were considered important. In contrast, headline titles and religious genre labels were generally not highlighted, and were thus regarded as secondary or additional elements in the text and in the genre of plague treatises.
In the study of historical genres, paratextual elements – including title-pages – have lately received more attention.  The availability of texts in facsimile images through internet sources, such as Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online, has aided the study of printed materials. Similarly, the inclusion of visual features in some of the recently published corpora, for example, Early Modern English Medical Texts, suggests that complementing at least parts of the digitized data with the original printed text is valued not only for the sake of adornment.  Many of the recent studies have indeed taken a more holistic approach to their topics by adopting the idea of the text as an artefact, which calls for new types of analysis to account for visual elements in the page. For instance, in a study on the early modern genre of witchcraft pamphlets (see Suhr 2011), title-pages and the use of illustrations in them were assessed to account for genre-defining markers and their development. In-depth analysis has been carried out on single texts as well, such as in Miller 2011, which focused on paratextual elements in a piece of plague writing. The same text, The christians refuge (1665), is also analyzed in this study. Despite these recent and pioneering efforts, systematic studies on the correlation between title-pages and genres have not been done yet, as McConchie also argues (McConchie in this volume).
My research interests lie in the wealth of material dealing with the plague, written in the Stuart period. Numerous texts were published during or right after the plague years, but they have not been analyzed linguistically.  The emergence of an essentially novel and terrifying disease – the bubonic plague – gave birth to “a new variety of medical literature” in fourteenth-century Europe (Siraisi 1990: 128). During that time it was more common, however, to see accounts of plague included in other, existing categories of diseases, such as types of fever. In the lack of established genre conventions, texts commonly borrow from other existing genres (see, e.g., Ratia 2011: 183).
Plague writing as a term is multifarious as it not only covers medical writing, but also some literary and religious writing, such as sermons. According to Totaro, plague treatises were “another genre growing out of plague-time” (2005: 15), the other literary tradition being utopian writings, or utopianism, which started with Thomas More’s Utopia of 1515 (for detailed analyses of literary plague writing, see Totaro 2005 and Gilman 2009). Other distinct genres of plague writing, some of which at least partly covered the domain of medicine, were plague orders and official regulations dealing with quarantine as well as providing remedies. Also, references to a new genre, i.e. the bill of mortality dating from 1603 (Greenberg 1997: 392), were becoming frequent in plague writing. During the Great Plague of London, newspapers were also contributing information by giving weekly totals of burials in London, news about the plague in the provinces and advertisements for recent publications and for specific remedies (Slack 1985: 245).
In the context of early modern medical writing, religious and moral argumentation was not unheard of. Whereas in medieval literature both religious and secular spheres were present in many genres of writing (for discussion, see Taavitsainen 2009), in the early modern period the domain of religion narrowed and became more restricted to particular topics or genres (see Kocher 1953: 266). For example, venereal diseases often invited moral disapproval and religious argumentation in their treatment and, in general, these epidemic diseases were more readily than others seen as manifestations of the divine scourge (Kocher 1953: 269, 266; Slack 1988: 436). Nevertheless, in comparison to other contemporary medical writings, plague treatises were pronouncedly different, as “theologians were also present on the battlefield”, “with sermons combating pamphlets of medical advice” (Greenberg 1997: 398).
The main purpose in a number of texts was to educate the public. This attempt was often religiously motivated and based on the tradition of medieval complaint emergent from sermon writing where the plague was generally considered to be God’s punishment for people’s sins (warning to be ware, cf. Healy 2003: 27). In Thomas Moulton’s extremely popular plague treatise contained within The myrour or glasse of helthe (c. 1530 with several reprints), divine retribution for sin as the first cause of plague was emphasized, which, according to Keiser (2003: 301), established “an important precedent for early modern pest treatises”. In the Tudor period, plague treatises were “ranging in nature from sermons to strictly medical books and encompassing a wide variety between those forms” (Keiser 2003: 324). The same applies to plague treatises in the Stuart period, many of which could be described as religio-medical, a term used by Allen (2000: 67–70) in relation to seventeeth-century plague texts. Slack (1985: 38) claims that the genres of medical and devotional works on the plague had distinctive focus areas but, at the same time, there was no absolute dichotomy between them and both sets of publications combined natural and supernatural explanations, which partly resulted from the fact that many divines were also medical practitioners. The conventions of plague writing were influenced by religious discourse; in many otherwise secular accounts of the plague epidemic references to divine providence emerge in introductory formalities or in a final caveat.
With “genre” I refer to a group of texts sharing similar external features. Early modern plague treatises were typically short and often written in a style that echoed that of the pulpit, showing the familiarity of authors with religious treatises on plague (see Wear 2000: 278). For the sake of convenience, I use the term treatise as an umbrella term referring to the medical texts studied in this article; the term is also commonly used in this way by other scholars (see, e.g., Totaro 2005: 15).
A common feature in plague treatises appears to have been the frequent use of religious discourse on the title-pages. It emerges in “theological queries” and “meditations” embedded in the long titles as well as in biblical quotes and epigraphs. These genre markers raise the question of whether, and to what extent, the religious discourse manifest in title-pages correlates with the content of the text and ultimately, with the genre of plague treatises. The overlap between religion and medicine as one of the defining features of medical plague writing lead me to analyze only those texts that contain religious discourse in their title-pages. I have left out plague sermons because my interest lies in the language of medicine. The fact that the dividing line between medical or religio-medical and religious writing was not always clear will be analyzed in this article.
My research aims in the study of Stuart plague treatises are twofold: First, to chart linguistic items present in the title-page and their correlation with the content in order to look for genre markers and gain knowledge about the genre. Second, to complement the linguistic analysis with the assessment of some of the visual features manifested in the title-page.
2. Material and method
For the analysis, 15 plague treatises were selected from 1603–1666, based on religious discourse found in their title-pages (see Table 1).  Of these texts, four title-pages were photographed at the Wellcome Library and four others that were on display on their website were given permission to be published in this article.  First editions were used when available; Texts no. 2 and 5 – Herring’s Certaine rvles, directions, or advertisments (1625 ) and The kings medicines for the plague (1665 ) – are included as later editions. Differences between editions are commented on in the analysis. Years are not evenly represented, but they distinctively mark the plague years of the seventeenth-century: Text no. 1 was written in 1603, Text no. 2 is a reprint from 1625, also originally written in 1603. Only Text no. 3, Treatise of the plague, was compiled between the visitations, in 1630. It was originally written by Ambroise Paré, who had died in 1590, but the text was not translated from French into English before 1630 (King 2004). During that year the plague continued to rage on the European continent, and the year also marked the Great Plague of Milan (see, e.g., Slack 1988: 434), which entailed that plague was never too far from people’s minds. The year 1641 marked a smaller epidemic in England and that is when Text no. 4, The charitable pestmaster, was written. The remaining texts were published in 1665, marking the Great Plague of London (10 texts in total), and one was written the following year. 
Title-pages of early printed works commonly featured a variety of different typefaces, large and small, italics, etc. to display the printer’s stock of type and the workmanship of his shop (Shevlin 1999; see Suhr 2011: 128). The fact that printers, not authors, were generally responsible for designing title-pages has to be kept in mind (see McConchie in this volume); thus title-pages, for the most part, reflect their marketing function in various explicit ways. In the first half of the seventeenth-century, visual aspects of title-pages were primary and verbal aspects secondary (Suhr 2011: 126). For example, lines could be divided to break up words in the middle in order to achieve a certain visual effect, such as a triangle shape, often found at the end of texts (see Claridge in this volume). Only in the latter half of the seventeenth-century did titles become more descriptive and possibly less commercial, and authors became more involved in the process of naming their texts (Shevlin 1999; see Suhr 2011: 125).
Digital images are not available of all the original title-pages, and therefore Table 1 in the Appendix has been designed to reproduce as faithfully as possible the visual aspects of all the data discussed here. There is information about line division, line division, type size and, in addition to the long titles, epigraphs, most of which are biblical quotations. As an important characteristic of medical plague writing, religious discourse has been highlighted with red color. Printing information at the bottom of the page, the imprint, was excluded since the topic is beyond the scope of this article; the study of imprints might shed more light on the involvement of printers and publishers in the design of title-pages. Moreover, the imprint was the most conspicuous place to market a text since, in addition to the printer’s name and device, it often contained a shop location (Voss 1998: 737). With the exception of Texts no. 12 and 15, there are no illustrations (for plague imagery, see Boeckl 2000).
3. Analysis of linguistic items
In the linguistic analysis, I have focused on so-called textual labels found in the long titles of the material. These labels guide the reader’s expectations of the content of the text as well as give clues about how these texts were perceived at the time or, rather, how printers wished the texts to be seen or understood. The titles are of varying length and carry within them different amounts of information. According to Shevlin (1999: 55), two major trends can be identified in seventeenth-century titles: all-inclusive or ‘snappy’ headlines. All-inclusive headlines were much more common in the plague material. In fact, only the titles of Texts no. 1 and 14 could be described as snappy, at least in comparison to others (see Table 1, rows 1 and 14): Balmford’s A short dialogve concerning the plagves infections. Published to preserue bloud, through the blessing of God (1603) and Wharton’s Directions for the prevention and cure of the plague. Fitted for the poorer sort (1665). Both titles are followed by a quotation from the Bible. All the other titles are much longer and include various elements referring to the content of the text or the type of text.
In Table 2, textual labels assigned to texts have been highlighted in bold type. The term “textual label” (see Suhr 2011: 140) is used in a wide sense as an umbrella term referring to various types of discourse.
A SHORT DIALOGVE ... Psal.
CERTAINE RVLES, DIRECTIONS, OR ADVERTISMENTS ... WITH A
caueat ... Wherevnto is added certaine Directions
A TREATISE ... Together with sundry other remarkable passages ... Psal.
THE Charitable Pestmaster, Or, The cure of the PLAGUE, Conteining a few short
and necessary instructions ... Together with a little treatise
THE KINGS Medicines
THE PLAGVES Approved PHYSITIAN ... With divers observations ... Also many
True and Approved Medicines ... Chiefely, a Godly and Penitent Prayer
Consilium Anti-Pestilentiale: OR, Seasonable Advice, CONCERNING Sure, Safe,
Specifick, and Experimented MEDICINES
A LEARNED TREATISE ... WHEREIN, The two Questions
London’s Deliverance predicted: IN A Short Discourse
MEDELA PESTILENTIÆ: Wherein is contained several Theological Queries ...
WITH Approved Antidotes
THE MEANES ... Also some Prayers, and Meditations
The Christians Refuge: OR HEAVENLY ANTIDOTES ... To which is added the
CHARITABLE PHYSICIAN Prescribing Cheap and Absolute Remedies
Food and Physick, ... Together with several Prayers and Meditations
ɅOIMOTOMIA: OR THE PEST Anatomized In these following particulars, Viz. ...
5. An Historical Account ... 6. Reflections and Observations ... 7. Directions ...
Together with the Authors Apology ... and a Word
Table 2. Textual labels in title-pages.
In Table 2, purple font indicates type of identifying markers or tags which, according to Suhr (2011: 133–139), often introduce secondary textual labels.  These secondary textual labels typically occur immediately after the tags, for example, in Text no. 2 “advertisments” and “caueat” follow the tags “or” and “with”. Sometimes textual labels are preceded by descriptive phrases, such as “Remedies” in Text no. 12: “To which is added the Charitable Physician Prescribing Cheap and Absolute Remedies”.
Some of the labels are genre terms, although treatise as a new genre format did not yet have a unified form in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (see Ratia 2011: 68–69) and it was generally used to refer to any formal discussion on a specific matter. Other genre terms are prayer, psalm and meditation, which, in turn, were well-established genres in the religious domain. They act as independent elements in the texts.
Some labels can be categorized in accordance with Werlich’s typology of text types (1976: 39–41): advertisements, advice, directions, instructions and rules correlate to the text type of instruction.  Another text type label found in the material is historical account, i.e. a history, which correlates to the text type of narration. At the time narratives were often used with reference to patients and disease, anecdotes about ancient physicians, or historical events (Siraisi 2007: 64). The term dialogue refers to a discourse form with emphasis on the interactive factor characterized by, for example, question-answer and argument-counterargument patterns (see Fritz 1995: 471–472). The term questions also denotes a discourse form; they were quite common in early modern titles, referring to an interactive type of discourse, where the author poses himself questions and either supports or refutes them. The label queries is synonymous with questions, here it occurs with a domain label “theological”.
The terms medicines, remedies and antidotes refer to contents, but they also signify the presence of recipes (the text type of instruction) or recipe paraphrases. Recipe paraphrase as a sub-type of the recipe proper is not indicated by the imperative form and it correlates to the text type of description; it is typically embedded in the text (see Taavitsainen 2001, Carroll 2004, Mäkinen 2004, Ratia 2011: 192–200). In medical treatises recipe paraphrases are more frequent than actual recipes. However, almost all texts under scrutiny contain recipes or recipe paraphrases, so the inclusion of the labels medicines, remedies and antidotes in title pages seems to depend on the printer’s choice to advertise certain elements. The occurrence of “heavenly antidotes” refers to the whole text, as it preceded only by a headline title The Christians refuge or … . Some labels refer to pragmatic functions, namely apology and caveat, instead of referring to a text type. Finally, a number of labels are very general and carry very little, if any, information about the kind of text they are referring to: discourse, observations, passages, reflections and word. All of these labels were introduced by tags, so they were secondary. Observations later developed into a genre term, a prototypical observation being a report of a phenomenon without an arranged experiment or test situation (see Atkinson 1999: 77, Valle 1999: 154). However, the term was used more generally in the material, for instance, in a phrase “Reflections and Observations”. Similarly, the content of these observations (sections titled as observations) varied from instruction (Text no. 6) to narrative and description (Text no. 15).
It should be kept in mind that all of the texts contain a mixture of styles, consisting of different elements and text types. In order to evaluate the accuracy of the nomenclature assigned to texts in their title-pages as well as the correlation between religious discourse in the title-page and content, each text was assessed.
3.1. A short dialogve concerning the plagves infection
Text no. 1, Balmford’s A short dialogve concerning the plagves infection ... (1603) was written as a dialogue between a preacher and a professor.  Balmford was a clergyman and rector of St Olave's in Southwark. In 1603 a major outbreak of plague infested the town and Balmford dedicated his work to his parishioners (Jenkins 2004). Textual labels present in the title-page are dialogue and psalm, which is featured at the bottom of the page and followed by a biblical quotation (see Tables 1 and 2). The preface starts with a biblical quote (33. Ezekiel) after which the author continues with reasons for publishing the work. The dialogue as a discourse form became common in the latter half of the sixteenth-century (see “medical” dialogues in Lehto et al. 2010: 160–162). The author writes in the preface that he has intentionally chosen dialogue form:
But now I haue contriued al in the forme of a Dialogue, which is a more familiar maner of teaching; hoping that now yee will more readily both perceiue, and receiue the truth herein contained”. (Balmford 1603: A3r).
The author also warns the readers about the contagious nature of the plague, which was a major topic at the time (see Slack 1988: 436–439; Wear 2000: 276, 280; Pahta & Ratia 2010: 97): In the preface the author also urges the readers to practise religion diligently by using affectively marked “ye” (see Busse 2002: 291–292), typically found in religious writing: “ye attend the Sacrament of Baptisme”, “Ye frequent Friday Lecture” (A4r), etc.  The actual text deals at length with different issues connected to the plague, mainly about how to avoid contagion by separating the sound from the infected. The arguments are backed up with references to the Bible. The last part of the text is devoted to religious themes with topics such as “Why godly men die of the Plague”. The text is both medical and religious, or rather a religious discussion of a medical topic. For example, the discussion on contracting the disease begins with “There be causes both naturall and diuine. For natural causes I referre you to learned Phisitians” (1603: 49). After this follows a short explanation based on the humoral theory: “So persons of a tender consitution, or corrupt humours sooner take the plague, then those that be of a strong constitution, & sound bodies …” (49–50).
3.2 Certaine rvles, directions, or advertisments for this time of pestilentiall contagion
The second text in the material, Certaine rvles, directions, or advertisments for this time of pestilentiall contagion … (1625), was originally published in 1603 by Francis Herring, a physician by profession (see Image 1 below). The work was popular, followed by four later editions, of which 1641 and 1665 editions were published under a slightly different title: Preservatives against the plague, or directions and advertisements for this time of pestilentiall contagion … .
Image 1. Certaine rvles, directions, or advertisments for this time of pestilentiall contagion (1625) by Francis Herring. Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
Herring dedicated the work to King Charles, which might have had an effect on the language. The text is practice-oriented starting with a list of “rvles, directions or advertisements”.  There are altogether 24 pieces of advice, each organized into a separate paragraph. Of these, the first seven are indicated by the word “Note” and a running number in the margin.. Rule no. 1 is the only religious passage and the longest as well. It deals with one of the core ideas of all plague writing, which was to put the blame of the pestilence on people themselves (see, e.g., Slack 1988 and Wear 2000: 278): “THe Plague ... is Ictus iræ divinæ pro peccatis hominum, The stroke of Gods wrath for the sinnes of mankinde” (Herring 1625: A3r). The author offers a remedy, a similarly shared idea: “Therefore his appropriate and speciall Antidote is Seria paenitentia, & conversio ad Deum: unfained and heartie repentance and conversion to God”.
The rest of the rules offered in Certaine rvles, directions, or advertisments are not spiritual but mundane, recommending, for example, the burying of infected bodies away from the city, the cleansing of ditches, purifying the air with fires of Oken or Ashwood and the burning of infected blankets and mattresses. The middle part of the text contains a warning or “A Caveat to those that weare about their necks impoisoned Amulets” referring to various types of amulets that contained arsenic and were commonly worn to ward off the pestilence – a topical issue at the time. In fact, the author published a separate work on this theme in 1604, A Modest Defence of the Caveat Given to the Wearers of Impoisoned Amulets, probably as a reply to the criticism on his 1603 publication. Then recipes are included to make various remedies, i.e. drinks and sweating medicines, and instructions on how to use them. The recipes contain a variety of ingredients, such as “Rue” or “Hearb-grace”, “Enula campana”, “Balerian”, “Fullers teasells”, “Aristolochia”, etc. For the truly poor, an affordable suggestion is made:
But if any be in that extreamitie of povertie and misery, that they cannot procure these parable and easie cheape Medicins, let them drinke twice in the day, a draught of their owne Vrine, in the morning, and five in the after-noone. (Herring 1625: C2v)
The textual labels present in the title-page, i.e. rvles, directions, advertisments, caueat (see Table 2), directly correlate with the contents. It can only be argued that if the above example is excluded, advice “for the poorer sort of people” were not really meant for the poor, as they would not have been able to acquire such a variety of different ingredients for the remedies. Also Latin citations in the middle of the text suggest that the intended audience was not the poor, although this claim is made in the title as well as in the subheading.
3.3 A treatise of the plague
A treatise of the plague … (1630) was originally written by a famous French surgeon Ambroise Paré in 1568 and later translated from French into English. Again, the title-page features a psalm at the bottom: “Psal. 91. 5, 6. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terrour by night, ---nor for the Pestilence that walketh in darknesse”. The psalm stands out visually (see Table 1) as it is separated from the rest of the page by a horizontal line on both sides. A short preface to the reader written by the translator, whose identity remains unknown, contains typical politeness formulae with no references to religion. The lengthy treatise (c. 28,000 words) consists of 26 chapters; of these only one chapter deals with spiritual matters. The first chapter describes the plague in a general manner with references to Hippocrates and the humoral theory. The second chapter is titled “Of the Diuine causes of an extraordinarie Plague” and its main argument is summarized in this excerpt, referring to the providence of God:
That euen as God by his omnipotent Power hath created all things of nothing, so he by his eternall Wisedome preserues and gouernes the same, leads and enclines them as he please, yea verily at his pleasure changes their order, and the whole course of Nature. (Paré 1630: 4)
Paré’s work is embedded with recipes; it also discusses various topics ranging from natural causes of the plague, prognostication, signs, diet, preservatives, treatment, purging, blood-letting, etc. The last chapter deals with “How to cure Infants and Children taken with the Plague”. The text ends in the following manner:
This is the cure of the Pestilence and of the pestilent Feuer, as farre as I could learne from the most learned Physitions, and haue obserued my selfe by manifold experience by the grace and permission of God: of whom alone, as the author of all good things that mortall men enioy, the true and certaine preseruatiues against the Pestilence are to bee desired and hoped for. (Paré 1630: 93)
This closing at the end of the text once more addresses the idea of God’s provicence. The textual labels in Table 2 (treatise, passages) correlate with the organization of Pare’s treatise, which is not very structured, but more of a random collection of passages, as advertised in the title-page.
3.4 The charitable pestmaster, or, the cure of the plague
Thomas Sherwood’s The charitable pestmaster, or, the cure of the plague ... was published in 1641. The headline title represents a common tradition in the seventeenth-century (Shevlin 1999). The text differs from others in the material in that it is published “Together with a little treatise concerning the cure of the Small Pox” (see Table 1). It also claims to have been “Published for the benefit of the poore of this City and not unmeet for the Rich”. The author calls himself a practitioner in physic. A biblical citation is placed at the bottom of the title-page: “2 Kings 20. 7. And ISAIAH said, take a lump of Figs, and they tooke, and laid it upon the boil, and he recovered”. The author dedicated his work to Alexander Read, a prosperous anatomist and surgeon at the College of Physitians in London. The dedication is followed by a short preface to the friendly reader, where Sherwood expresses his concern for “the poore of this City” as the reason for printing his work. The text is rather short, less than 5,000 words, and divided into three chapters. The first chapter is very short and begins by laying out the causes of the pestilence, starting with the supernatural one:
THere are divers causes of this disease. The first is sin, which ought to be repented of. The second an infected and corrupted air, which should be avoided. The third an evill diet, which should be amended. The fourth are evill humours heaped together in the body, being apt to putrifie, and beget a Fever, which must be taken away by convenient medicines. (Sherwood 1641: 1)
The chapter deals with the causes of the pestilence and how to avoid the disease by giving practical advice. The second chapter is also short and contains the signs of plague and “A caveat not to tamper with those that begin to amend of themselves”. The third chapter contains remedies, recipes how to make them, and general instructions for use. The short treatise on small pox is the last item in the work, beginning thus:
THe nature of the Smal Pox dispersed this yeer throughout many parts of this Kingdome, I have found to bee more malignant, then any that have reigned in my remembrance; so that many of all ages and sexes, but especially children have miserably died of them: because for the most part, the pestilence is joyned with them, as it doth plainly appeare by those spots, blains, and risings, that follow them. (Sherwood 1641: 9)
According to the author, “The Primitive or externall causes of the Small Pox are all one with those which are of the Plague, as an evill and corrupted aire, a disorderly dyet, that begets surfets; as also for the antecedent causes which are corrupt humours heaped together in the body”. Nevertheless, earlier in the text the author argues that the first cause for the plague was sin, whereas the treatise on smallpox is markedly void of religious discourse.
Textual labels present in the title-page (see Table 2) are instructions and treatise, the latter referring to the section on smallpox. Especially the instructions label describes the text well as it is practice-oriented, although the pieces of advice are all embedded in the text. Only three brief references to the poor with separate instructions can be found in the text, although the poor were claimed to be the intended audience: “But the poorer sort that cannot goe to this charge, may take instead thereof Aloes one dram in the pap of an Apple …” (Sherwood 1641: 2). The text ends with an epigraph written both in Latin and in English (for code-switching in early modern period, see Pahta 2011). “If that our art from God receive not strength, In vain we seek mans life for to prolength” (for code-switching in the Early Modern period, see Pahta 2011).
3.5 The kings medicines for the plague
The text titled The kings medicines for the plague ..., claims to have been published by the Royal College of Physicians, but the contents point to the direction of popular pamphlets (see Aitchison 2007: 60). Despite the attribution to the Royal College of Physicians, the phrase “Spirituall and Temporall” in the title (see Image 2 below and Table 1), referring to medicines, suggests religious writing. Slack (1985: 38) calls these type of texts “devotional tracts” and argues that, for example, the title The kings medicines for the plague shows that “they were intended to stand side by side with their medical counterparts”. The text was published as early as 1604, i.e., after the major plague epidemic of 1603, and later editions were issued during other great outbreaks in 1636 and in 1665. In the title-page, two horizontal lines frame a type of advertisement: “And now most fitting for this dangerous time of Infection, to be used all England over”. The work is a chapbook – a type of small and popular pamphlet, which gradually replaced the single-page broadsheets from around 1500 and which covered a wide range of topics (Aitchison 2007: 59–61).
Image 2. The kings medicines for the plague (1665). Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
The actual text is a mixture of practical advice and religious discourse. It starts with a recipe, with no introduction except for the subheading “The Kings Medicine of the former yeare, against the Plague of the Body”:
TAke Sage of vertue, Rue, (otherwise called Herb-grace) Elder-leaves, red Bramble leaves, and Wormewood, of each of them a good handfull, ... (1665: A2r)
After the short recipe, a new subheading veers the text into the spiritual or divine sphere: “The Kings Medicine for this present yeare against the Plague of the soule, and the effect thereof” (see below). A clever, or perhaps ironic, comparison is made between temporal and providential medicine.  Elements taken from the recipe proper are highlighted:
TAke the herb of Uertue, (the doing of good, Psal. 34. 14.) and the herb of Patience (otherwise called a wayting vpon the Lord, Psal. 37. 7.) wherewith possesse your soules, Luke 21. 19. In steed of Herb-grace, take another, called Christs grace: and in the place of Elder-leaues, Elders Examples, following and imitating the Elders of Israel, 1 Chron. 21. prostrating your selues before the Maiestie of God. Let not two things be the ingredients of this Spirituall Kings Medicine, which are in the corporall, the Bramble and the Wormewood. Leaue out the proud Bramble, and his leaves, for he would exalt himselfe above the other trees, Iudges 9. 15. Secondly leaue out also the hitter wormwood of hate, anger and envie: and according to the counsel of God (the best Physician) Deut. 29. 18. Let there not be among you any root of bitternesse and Wormewood. In steed of these two, take the humble Figgetree and his leaves, who would not exalt himselfe above others, Iudges 9. 11. (1665: A2v–A3r)
This manner of rhetoric of “spiritual medicine” complementing “temporal medicine” is immediately repeated in the second part. Then a list of recipes under the subheading “Sundry Medicines for the Plague” follows including advice on keeping places clean, airing rooms, “to smell to”, “to chew”, for vomiting and purging, etc. The work ends with two prayers, “for those that are not Visited” and “for those that are Visited”. The textual label medicines in the title-page indicates that recipes will be provided, while the religious content of the text is confirmed by the word “spiritual” (see Tables 1 and 2).
3.6 The plagves approved physitian
The plagves approved physitian … , was published anonymously in 1665 – during the year of the Great Plague of London, which also marked a substantial growth in the number of plague publications. Most texts in the material are from this year. The contents are described in detail on the title-page. The textual labels present (see Table 2) are observations, medicines and prayer. The religious content referring to the prayer is separated from the rest by two horizontal lines at the bottom of the page (see Table 1). The text does not begin with references to God, or statements declaring the origin of the plague in sin. Instead, the topics listed on the title-page are dealt with in the same order, as pointed out in the subheadings, starting with “Naturall causes of the Infection of the Aire, and of the Plague”, “Observations to be used, preserving from the Plague” (this section contains two recipes), “Signes to know the infected”, “The Cure of the infected of the Plague” and, lastly, “A Godly PRAYER, to be used in the time of any common Plague or Sicknesse”. The first three subheadings repeat verbatim the contents of the title-page, whereas the last two have been rephrased. After “The Cure”, however, recipes are included under a number of other subheadings, such as “Preservatiues against the Plague, and Pestilence”, “Another”, “A prooved remedy”. The prayer at the end of the text is the only religious passage and both visually and structurally a separate entity.
3.7 Consilium anti-pestilentiale: or, seasonable advice
Consilium anti-pestilentiale: or, seasonable advice … (1665) was written by Sir Richard Barker, a physician who, according to Marshall (2004), was “violently anti-catholic”. At the bottom of the page a citation from the Bible is separated by two horizontal lines (see Table 1). The text is among the shortest, under 2,000 words. It is preceded by a dedication to Sir John Lawrence, “Lord Maior of the City of London” and to “the Court of ALDERMEN of the same City” as well as an epistle to the reader. In the dedication the author explains why he published the work and that he had planned to publish “another Tract, concerning four Diseases predominant in this City, which I indeed intended to be first of all, but that by this present very urgent necessity I am prevented” (1665: A3v). A reference is also made to “the late encrease in the weekly Bill of Mortality”. In the Epistle to the reader, the author claims that:
WHereas there hath been a report, that my House is visited, and that divers dyed out of it; this is to let thee understand that the same is a meer false slander and fiction, maliciously invented by some of my Profession, on set purpose to divert Patients from me, and to mar my Practice. Both my self and Family are all in perfect health, (God be praised for it) and I hope to live to the comfort of my Friends, and conversion of my Enemies. In the Parish where I live, there hath been as much affliction, by the current Epidemical Disease, as in other Parishes, but that by the use of such Medicines as they had from me, they escaped, the Almighty in his mercy giving his blessing thereunto. According to the compute of the last weeks Bill of Mortality there died no more but seven out of it, and all the time before but four; which I do not doubt but that by the help of God they might have also escaped, if they had not been frighted from coming to my House by that groundless aspersion. (Barker 1665: A4r)
Therefore, the epistle works as an advertisement to promote the author’s services as a physician. A reference to “last weeks Bill of Mortality” also comes up in the excerpt. The actual text is void of all religious discourse, except for one instance in a recipe stating “and you will be infallibly cured (by the blessing of God)” (1665: 3).  Therefore, the biblical quotation in the title-page of Barker’s work appears to be more of a stylistic device than anything else. The text contains directions for the prevention and cure of the plague, with some recipes. The textual labels advice and medicines (see Table 2) thus describe the contents quite accurately. At the end, medicines sold by the author are once again advertised, for example, “Dr. Trigg's great Cordial” and the places listed where it can be bought, including the author’s own house, as well as the price of the medicines.
3.8 A learned treatise of the plague
A learned treatise of the plague ... was written in Latin by Théodore de Bèze (1519–1605) and translated into English in 1665 (see Image 3). The topicality and popularity of plague texts led to the reprinting of earlier works in the plague epidemics of the seventeenth-century and to the need to translate foreign ones (see Greenberg 1997: 391). The textual labels (“learned”) treatise and questions (see Tables 1 and 2) suggest that the work probably contains theoretical discussion and religious meditation rather than practical advice. The text is around 10,000 words.
Image 3. A learned treatise of the plague (1665). Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
A dedication is written to “the Honorable Sir JOHN ROBINSON, Lieutenant of his Majestie’s Principal Fortress, the Tower of London” by Edvard Percivall, who has probably translated the work. The reasons for publishing the text are also stated in the dedication: “The matter of the Discourse is a Confutation, and reconciling the onely two destructive Opinions” (1665: A2 r–v), referring to the two questions also mentioned in the title-page: “Whether the PLAGUE be Infectious, or not: And Whether, and how farr it may be shunned of Christians, by going aside?”. These questions are core in plague writing of the time, also discussed at length in Texts no. 1 and 9 (see Table 1, Text 1 and Text 9). De Bèze’s work is, as it claims, learned, with references to the principles of argumentation, e.g. “consequents” and “enthymemes”.
Both questions addressed in the treatise – infectious nature of the plague as well as flight – are closely related, and, as the author himself claims, the question of flight “doth depend upon the first question” (1665: 3). The opponents of this view, according to the author, ground their reasons on the Bible and not on physic, and de Bèze refutes their arguments similarly with religious argumentation:
Nature telleth us to be ordained by him to prolong our life so long as it shall please him; which if we do not, we shall worthily be deemed to tempt and most grievously to offend God; ... (de Bèze 1665: 4)
The matter is discussed in relation to a number of biblical references, for example, 1 Chronicles 21, and psalms as well as stories from the Bible. 
3.9 London’s deliverance predicted
London’s deliverance predicted ... (1665; see Image 4 below) was written by John Gadbury, a well-known astrologer during his time (see also Tyrkkö, Marttila & Suhr in this volume).  Gadbury’s work on the plague is an indication of “interests extended beyond judicial astrology to other aspects of the seventeenth-century intellectual ferment” (Curry 2004). The only textual label in the title-page is (“short”) discourse (see Tables 1 and 2), but the work is of middle length, around 12,000 words.
Image 4. The kings medicines for the plague (1665). Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
The text is dedicated to “Mr. Luke Cropley Of St. Michaels Bassishaw London” and contains a long preface to the friendly reader, in which Gadbury laments the shortcomings of the science of physic in comparison to astrology in predicting the coming of plagues and the duration of epidemics as well as treating the disease.
Gadbury emphasized the role of celestial influences above other secondary causes of the plague – the primary cause naturally being God – and argued, for example, that “Never was any person subject to violent diseases, as the Plague, &c. but had a violent Nativity to shew it, and è contra” (1665: 25).  The text is divided into several chapters dealing with the causes of plague, “How long a Pestilence may naturally last?”, description of the plagues of 1593, 1603, 1625, 1636 and the present plague, “Whether the Plague be cathing?”, “The Folly of People in flying from their habitations for fear of the Plague”, “That this present Plague was foretold by Astrology” and “The Air unjustly suspected to lodge the Contagion”.  Gadbury’s work differs from the others: he refuted the common argument about the air being the seat of pestilence and appears to have been the only author at the time to dispute contagion theory (Slack 1985: 252, 1988: 437; see also Wear 2000: 276, 280), which he did fervently, resembling the engaging style of sermons:
We blaspheme one of the greatest Attributes of the Almighty, when we restrain his power: it is not we that can or are able to infect one another; but it is God by his Power over us that afflicts us all! and indeed the Plague carrieth not in it so much of infection, as it doth of affliction, and so we mortals find it. (Gadbury 1665: 26)
Gadbury’s text also includes tables of mortalities and discussion about how the numbers increased and decreased during specific outbreaks. It also contains Latin passages and verse. The author criticised other plague authors of their false opinions, but his own ideas did not receive much appreciation.
3.10 Medela pestilentiæ
Richard Kephale wrote his Medela pestilentiæ ... in 1665 (see Image 5 below). Kephale was “one of the few who still argued that some kinds of plague were wholly supernatural” (Slack 1985: 247) and emphasized the role of providence during a time when natural causes of the plague were being discussed more than before, as seen in the excerpt below:
OUt of Gods tender Goodness towards this Nation, after many warnings before hand, by his Ministers, who observing what sins were impudently, and impenitently committed, foresaw, and fore-told, what God would bring upon this People, and particularly a Plague throughout that year, before it came. (Kephale 1665: 1)
Image 5. Medela pestilentiæ (1665) by Richard Kephale. Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
The work is dedicated to the Lord Mayor and the sheriffs of London, as also stated in the title-page (see Table 1). The dedication is followed by a short postscript advertising two antidotes experimented by the author. The text is long, c. 24,000 words, and organized into questions and answers; the textual labels found on the title-page are “theological” queries and antidotes (see Table 2). Medela pestilentiæ contains a mishmash of religion and practical advice: passages from sermons, a collection of plague orders from 1603, 1609, 1625 and 1636, instructions “For Correction of the Ayre”, a long list of recipes to make pomanders, etc., a discussion on fleeing and another discussion on the same topic by Bishop Hall.  The religious meditations are followed by, for example, a discussion on proper diet. The treatise ends with a recipe.
3.11 The meanes of preventing, and preserving from, and curing of that most contagious disease, called the plague
The meanes of preventing, and preserving from, and curing of that most contagious disease, called the plague … (1665) was written by an author known as M. R. The title is descriptive of content and the only textual labels are prayers and meditations (see Table 2). The anonymous author’s inscription of himself on the title-page contributes to a religious tone: “By one who desires it may bee for the glory of God, and the good of all People”. The biblical quotation underneath it works to the same effect as they are both separated by horizontal lines, which makes them stand out visually (see Table 1). The author begins the epistle to the reader by mentioning God’s providence and claims that the work is “intended for the general good of all, and especially for the Poor” (1665: A2r). However, only one reference to the poor can be found in the text in the form of a recipe, “A Preservative for the poor”, in addition to a brief occurrence in a religious passage: “But in the Grave, Rich and Poor meet together …” (1665: 11).
The whole text is divided into two contrasting parts: the first deals with medical and the second with religious content. However, the medical content also contains religious discourse when discussing the description of the disease. Religious argumentation also appears under the subheading “The causes of this Disease” whereas “The terrestrial Causes of the Plague” covers other causes relying on the miasma theory. In addition, signs are discussed, some instructions are given, and a number of recipes are included. The religious part of the text deals with meditations, references to the Bible and, finally, prayers.
3.12 The christians refuge: or heavenly antidotes against the plague
The christians refuge: or heavenly antidotes against the plague … (1665) contains the initials W.W. in a preface “To the Christian Reader”. Miller (2011: 247–249) attributes the work convincingly to William Winstanley, a compiler of biographies and a poet (Burns 2004). The headline title “The Christians Refuge” is separated from the rest of the page with a horizontal line. Also, another line separates the bottom of the page “Published for the Benefit of all FAMILIES” from previous text. The text has an ornate frontispiece depicting a skeleton on a throne (see Miller 2011 for discussion and Image 6 below).
Image 6. The christians refuge: or heavenly antidotes against the plague (1665). Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
The title suggests a division between religious content and medical, that is, a theological discussion followed by remedies, i.e. recipes, as evidenced in “To which is added the CHARITABLE PHYSICIAN Prescribing Cheap and Absolute Remedies” (see Image 6 above and Table 1). The textual labels “heavenly” antidotes and remedies suggest, in the same vein, meditations or prayers and recipes (see Table 2). At the beginning of the long treatise (c. 25 000 words), the author offers repentance as the best remedy and continues with a rhetoric similar to the type found in The kings medicines for the plague (see discussion under 3.5):
Take a quart of true Repentance, mixed with fasting and prayer and put thereto four handfulls of faith in the blood of Christ to which ad as much hope and Charity as you can procure; ... (Winstansley 1665: 10–11).
Even when secondary causes are briefly discussed, religious and moral arguments are present: “people who have as litle care to keep their bodies as their Souls clean; the Plague sweeping them away in a short time, who would find no time to sweep their houses” (1665: 8). Thus, the main body of the work deals with how to be a good Christian in order to avoid the pestilence, accompanied by occasional lines of verse. Medical content can be found only in the last 10 pages which have been titled as “Receits against the PLAGUE”.
3.13 Food and physick for every housholder, & his family, during the time of the plague
Food and physick for every housholder, & his family, during the time of the plague … was published in 1665 by T. D. Two horizontal lines frame the religious content “Together with several Prayers and Meditations”, which is followed by these claims: “Very needful in all Infectious and Contagious Times. And fit as well for the Country, as the City” (see Table 1). The only textual labels in the title-page are prayers and meditations (see Table 2). However, it can be argued that “food and physick” functions, at least in part, as a label referring to regimen type of content (see Suhr 2010: 111–118). The structuring of the text differs from the rest of the material as the religious content – long prayers “For those that are not Visited” and “For those that are Visited” – are situated in the middle. Directions concerning diet and airing the rooms occur before prayers whereas medical recipes make up the last part of the text.
3.14 Directions for the prevention and cure of the plague
The shortest text in the material (c. 1,800 words), Directions for the prevention and cure of the plague. Fitted for the poorer sort (1665), was written by Thomas Warton. The text has the shortest title as well (see Image 7 below and Table 1). The only textual label present is directions (see Table 2). Horizontal lines separate the claim “Fitted for the Poorer sort” from the rest of the text. At the bottom a quotation from the Bible is featured.
Image 7. Directions for the prevention and cure of the plague (1665) by Thomas Warton. Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
The text contains three chapters on diet, preservatives and cure. The chapter on diet is the shortest, dealing with desirable foods to eat as well as a piece of advice for “all Brewers”. The chapter on preservatives contains both recipes and advice about perfuming houses, how to prepare for public gatherings and about burying the diseased. The chapter on cure contains the proper care of the infected and recipes. The text contains only one reference to God, which is formulaic:
It will be advantageous in the way of Preservation to forbid the sale or carrying out any infected Clothes, or indeed any thing from infected houses, till such time as it shall please God the Plague totally cease. (Wharton 1665: 3)
3.15 Ʌoimotomia, or the pest anatomized
The last and the longest text in the material (c. 29,000 words) is George Thomson’s Ʌoimotomia, or the pest anatomized … (1666). Thomson was one of the physicians to remain in London during the outbreak, while many practitioners fled, as others had in the past. Thomson was also one of the people responsible for the famous dissection of a plague corpse which is illustrated on the title-page (Slack 1985: 246, see Image 8 below).
Image 8. Ʌoimotomia, or the pest anatomized (1666) by George Thomson. Published by the kind permission of the Wellcome Library London.
The title is very long and organized enumeratively (see Table 1). The first four chapters deal with the causes “of the Pest”, “The Subject Part” and signs. They are followed by textual labels historical account, reflections and observations and directions (see Table 2). There are some embedded recipe paraphrases in the text. The only religious content on the title-page consists of biblical quotations in Greek and in Latin. Infrequent references to God in the text are all formulaic: “Concerning Prevention; I know not any one thing for Inward use, as a more sure staff to lean upon, under God, then the Best Flowers of Venus”.
This part of the analysis dealt with textual labels and religious discourse in the title-page and how they both compared to the actual content. Next I will move on to a more specific topic: the visual emphasis of types of font, i.e. highlighted items, in the title-page.
4. Analysis of highlighted items
The strong presence of highlighted items in all of the analyzed title-pages, argues for the importance of the visual over the textual substance (see Shevlin 1999; Suhr 2011: 128). It seems plausible that very large type would be reserved for important topic words such as “plague” or “pestilence” and to a lesser extent, to textual labels, such as treatise, directions etc. In order to display the most striking differences in the type size (vertically), only the largest and the second largest types of each title-page are indicated in Table 3 below. Topical labels are marked in green. Different editions are compared when more than one edition of a particular text is available.
A SHORT DIALOGVE CONCER[NING]
… RVLES, DIRECTIONS,
A TREATISE OF … PLAGUE, … The Causes, Signes, Symptomes, Prog[nostics]
… Charitable Pestmaster, OR, … PLAGUE, Conteining a few short and necessary … Together with a little treatise concerning the cure of the Small Pox.
THE KINGS Medicines For the Plague.
… PLAGVES … PHYSITIAN.
Consilium Anti-Pestilentiale: … Seasonable Advice, … Sure, Safe, Specifick, and Experimented MEDICINES, both for the Preservation from, and Cure of this Present PLAGUE.
… LEARNED TREATISE … PLAGUE:
… A Short Discourse … PLAGUES
… Theological Queries … PLAGUE,
… MEANES … Preventing, and Preserving from, … PLAGUE … The Pestilential Feaver, and the fear[full]
… Christians Refuge: … PLAGUE
Food and Physick, … Housholder, & his Family, … PLAGUE.
DIRECTIONS … PREVENTION … PLAGUE.
ɅOIMOTOMIA: … PEST Anatomized
Table 3. Highlighted items in the title-page indicated accordingly by differences in type size. Topical labels are indicated in green.
Highlighted items in Table 3 attract their potential readers’ attention; particularly prominent are the topical labels “PLAGUE”, its possessive and plural forms (Texts no. 6 and 9.), and a near-synonym “PEST” (no. 15), which are featured in a majority of title-pages (13/15).  These were all written in capital letters. Both “PLAGUE” and “Pestilential Feaver” occur in Text no. 11, where the latter refers more directly to the actual ills of the disease or “the fearfull Symptomes, and Accidents”, and “PLAGUE” is used more generally with reference to “Preventing, and Preserving from, and CURING”. Headline titles are the most highlighted items on two title-pages: Charitable Pestmaster (Text no. 4) and Food and Physick (Text no. 13); in the previous text, the topical label “PLAGUE” is also among the most emphasized items. Charitable Pestmaster also deals with ”Small pox”, and the topical label is highlighted, but with a smaller font than “PLAGUE”. It was not uncommon for a text to cover both the plague and small pox, although it has to be mentioned that plague was discussed in these texts first, and the section on smallpox was generally shorter than the one on plague (see, e.g., A treatise concerning the plague and the pox by Edwards from 1652).
Only the first two texts in the material contain no highlighted topical labels, but instead emphasize textual labels “DIALOGVE” and “RVLES, DIRECTIONS” (see Table 3). In Balmford’s A short dialogve (Text no. 1), the textual labels are highlighted in a similar manner in the second edition of 1625, but the religious element on the title-page is much enhanced due to a selection of psalms added at the end of the work (total of 8 pages), preceded by a preface “To my Christian friend”, which addition is described in the title-page.
In Herring’s work especially (Text no. 2), the layout relies on the visual effect. This can be seen in the first edition (1603, see EEBO) where the largest typeface is used for the first word in the title which is “CERTAINE”, after which “RULES, DIRECTIONS” are also highlighted, but to a lesser extent. The visual effect of a perfectly shaped triangle appears to be the determining factor. In the second, revised edition of Certaine rvles from 1625 (see Image 1), the word “CERTAINE” has been removed from the center of focus and “RVLES” emerges as the visually most prominent item with “DIRECTIONS” featuring the second biggest typeface. The same emphasis of items and a similar line division are present in the third edition from 1636.  The triangle shape in the main title of the original 1603 publication has not been retained in these later editions.
Both the 1625 and 1636 editions of Herring’s Certaine rvles (Text no. 2) give the following advertisement on the title-page: “Wherevnto is added certaine Directions, for the poorer sort of people when they shall be visited”. The issue of the poor was becoming increasingly topical in the course of the seventeenth-century, to the extent that authors and printers started to address the poor in their texts. Herring’s work was also published under a slightly different title: Preservatives against the plague, or Directions and advertisements for this time of pestilentiall contagion ... (1641, 1665). The same elements are present on the title-page with minor alterations, only the reference to the poor is more pronounced and occurs right after the main title: “VVith certaine instructions for the poorer sort of people when they shall be visited”. In the 1641 edition, the phrase is divided into two lines and the first line ending with “for the poorer” is emphasized with the second largest typeface present on the page. The order of information is the same in the 1665 edition, but the typeface is smaller, so the reference to the poor is no longer visually emphasized in the later edition, although the location after the main title illustrates its importance. The reference to the poor in Preservatives against the plague even precedes the warning against impoisoned Amulets (discussed earlier in 4.2). In Certaine rvles the “caueat” about amulets occurs right after the main title, whereas the reference to the poor “Wherevnto is added certaine Directions … ” is the last piece of text before the biblical quotation.
Differences between the editions of Text no. 2, The Kings medicines, of 1630, 1636 and 1665 (see Image 2), are minor, although line division and type alternate. The word “KINGS”, highlighted in all editions, is more prominent in the earlier 1630 and 1636 title-pages. In Text no. 13, Food and Physick, the title-pages of 1665 and 1666 are identical, except for the year of publication in the imprint.
Among the highlighted items in Table 3 are some textual labels, but they are often displayed in a smaller typeface than the topical label “plague”: (“little / learned) treatise” (Texts no. 3, 4 and 8), (“experimented) medicines” (no. 7), (“short) discourse” (no. 9) and (“theological) queries” (no. 10). In some of the material, textual labels are equally highlighted with the topical word: (“seasonable) advice” (Text no. 7) and “directions” (no. 14). In The Kings medicines (Text no. 5), the textual label (“King’s) medicines” referring to the text type of recipes (discussed earlier in section 4) is highlighted more than the topical word. As an advertising strategy, a reference to a monarch might add credibility and appeal. In Texts no. 1 and 2, only textual labels are highlighted: (“short) dialogue“ and “rules, directions”.
Based on these findings, it can be concluded that in seventeenth-century plague treatises the visual prominence of the topical label “plague” was primary, and textual labels were highlighted to a lesser extent. However, if the title contained a primary textual label, meaning that a textual label was not preceded by any of the tags discussed earlier (section 4), it was highlighted without exception: “dialogue” (Text no. 1), “rules”, “directions” (Texts no. 2; 14), “treatise” (Texts no. 3 and 8), “medicines” (no. 5). These textual labels amply cover medical plague writing of the time consisting of a dialogue as a didactic discourse form, the text type of instruction (indicated by “directions”), treatise as the main genre of scientific writing and “medicines” referring to recipes. It is tempting to suggest that the printers have at least partly recognized the importance of textual labels, as opposed to headline or Latin titles, which were not always highlighted even if they occurred at the beginning of the title (Texts no. 9 and 10, London’s deliverance predicted and Medela pestilentiæ; see Images 4 and 5). The lack of religion in the highlighted items is noteworthy, for example, in that none of the genre labels psalm, prayer or meditation are highlighted. They are situated at the center or close to the bottom of the title-page, which also suggests that these religious genres were considered secondary or additional to the content. The only counterexamples can be found in Medela pestilentiæ, where the label “theological queries” is highlighted, and in the highlighted headline title of The Christians refuge (Text no. 12).
5. Discussion and conclusions
Material for this article was selected based on the presence of religious discourse on the title-page which may have given an unbalanced view of the development of plague writing, considering the great number of texts published in 1665. For example, Slack argues that during 1665 plague treatises dealt more and more with the natural causes of the plague and natural remedies at the expense of religious explanations and spiritual cures (1985: 244, 246). At the same time, the religio-medical tradition that had been well established in the Elizabethan period, continued alive and well in the Stuart period, and the multitudes of plague publications, such as the ones investigated in this article, readily give evidence of the existence of different types of texts side by side. It might be problematic to talk about a specific genre or genres. For example, some texts contained prefaces and dedications, whereas others did not. Most texts were organized into shorter chapters or sections, but not all. Some texts were written in a learned style and others could be described as practice-oriented collections of advice. In the context of early modern medicine this is not exceptional, and the ongoing development of genres and the birth of new ones complicate the picture. On the other hand, the title-pages show great similarities between the texts or at least within certain groups of texts. The topic dealt within the texts is also essentially the same – how to avoid catching the plague.
Based on the analysis of the contents, I have grouped texts under three headings: “not religious”, “religious” or “devotional”, and “religio-medical” proper. Three texts in the material could be described as not religious (Texts no. 7, 14, 15). Except for the lack of religious discourse in these three texts, the contents and the style, for example, range from learned to general and from practical advice or theoretical discussion. The only religious elements present on the title-page are biblical citations, two of them in Latin, which will escape the notice of the general reader. Therefore, the presence of religious discourse in the form of biblical quotations proved to be an doubtful indication of religious discourse to the extent that some of the texts analyzed in this article proved to be not religious.
Four texts could be described as devotional as they were written throughout in a religious tone echoing the language of the pulpit: A short dialogve concerning the plagves infection by Balmford (1603; Text no. 1), The kings medicines for the plague (1665; Text no. 5), Learned treatise of the plague by Bèze (1665; Text no. 8) and Winstansley’s The Christians refuge: or heavenly antidotes against the plague (1665; Text no. 12). The religious element is prominently featured in the title of The Christians refuge as well as in the long title of Bèze’s treatise (“Whether, and how farr it may be shunned of Christians”). In The kings medicines for the plague the religious element surfaces only in the reference to “Spirituall and Temporall” medicines. The clergyman Balmford’s treatise (Text no. 1) makes no claims to religious content in the actual title. Instead, the title-page contains both a psalm and a biblical citation which differs from other texts. Three of the texts (Texts 1, 5, and 8) resemble each other in that even in the religious treatment on the nature of the contagion or the moral issues concerning flight, the domain of medicine is present, as religious or supernatural explanations were at the time part of the diversity of scientific thinking. The Christians refuge (Text no. 12), however, reads as a religious work into which few medical recipes have been added, although the medical content takes almost half of the title-page.
A majority of texts, eight in total, can be described as “religio-medical” containing primarily medical discussion accompanied with some religious discourse (Texts no. 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13). Some of these texts contain only a biblical citation or a psalm on their title-page (Texts no. 2, 3, 4); in two texts a biblical citation is accompanied with a religious element elsewhere in the title, such as in Gadbury’s London’s deliverance predicted (Text no. 9) or in The meanes of preventing (Text no. 11), where the anonymous author refers to himself as “By one who desires it may bee for the glory of God”. Two texts advertise the presence of “a Godly and Penitent PRAYER” (Barker 1665; Text no. 6) and “several Prayers and Meditations” (T. D. 1665; Text no. 13). In contrast to other texts in this group, Kephale’s Medela pestilentiæ (Text no. 10) features a religious element in the long title “Theological Queries”, which has also been highlighted with a bigger type. The long treatise contains passages from sermons and religious meditations, but the medical content is even more prominent. Most importantly, the religious and medical sections in the work are separate, which is a common denominator in this group of texts.
To sum up, I hope I have managed to shed some light on the issue of the genre of Stuart plague treatises and how elements of the genre are manifested in their title-pages. Textual labels were shown to be quite accurate in predicting the contents, especially in the case of medical content. On the other hand, some of the religious argumentation was very subtly advertised. For a comprehensive analysis of the genre of plague treatises, the next step would be to perform the analysis of all the material, including texts that contain no religious discourse on their title-pages, to see whether the contents of the texts and their title-pages correlate with one another.
 For the definition of paratextuality, see Macksey’s Foreword in Genette’s Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation (Genette 1997). See also McConchie and Tyrkkö, Suhr and Marttila in this volume.
 The corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts features a gallery of title-pages, covering the majority of texts, as well as a selection of diagrams and illustrations.
 In the Stuart period, the plague years in England coincided with the rule of three monarchs: James I (1603–1625) 1603–1611; Charles I (1625–1649) 1625–1626, 1636–1638, 1638–1639, 1641, 1643–1647; Charles II (1660–1685) 1664–1666 (Totaro 2005: 2).
Significant outbreaks in London occurred in 1603, 1625, 1636 and in 1665 which marked the last major epidemic in England (Greenberg 1997: 392).
 For the sake of comparison, it is interesting that in the title-pages of circa 20 plague treatises from the same period there are no references to religion. Together these two groups of texts make up the corpus for my postdoctoral study on the appearances of poverty in plague treatises of the Stuart period.
 I wish to thank Dr. Jukka Tyrkkö for photographing the title-pages for this article.
 Slack (1985: 244) claims that “at least forty-six publications concerned with plague appeared in 1665 and 1666, rather more than in 1625–6”.
 In a study on Early modern witchcraft pamphlets, Suhr (2011: 136–138) discovered the following tags in use in title-pages 1643–1697: also, being, contained, likewise, or (the most prominent one), shewing, together, (together) with.
 The particular occurrence of “advertisments” was found in a phrase “rvles, directions, or advertisments” (Herring 1625: title page) with the early modern connotation of ‘instruction’ (see OED); thus, the genre of advertisement was not referred to.
 For a discussion on the pamphlet controversy of 1603, see Slack 1985: 227–235.
 Theories of contagion and miasma still coexisted in England before the end of the seventeenth-century as they both “were thought to arise from ill-defined processes of corruption and putrefaction, either in the heavens, in the air or in terrestrial or human bodies, and they thus had the same root” (Slack 1985: 28).
 The word advertisement is to be understood in its early modern context, used to refer to ‘The action or an act of calling the attention of someone; (an) admonition, warning, instruction’. (OED).
 Similar examples can be found in other plague treatises (see Slack 1985: 38).
 For the use of similar constructions in Middle English, see Taavitsainen 2009.
 The same biblical reference can be found in Thomas Moulton’s The myrour or glasse of helthe (c. 1530; see Keiser 2003: 301).
 For an overview of astrology in medicine, see Mercier 1914.
 “When I speak of the Causes of the Plague, you are to understand that I tacitly acknowledge, God the chief and supreme Cause of all things! and that it is in his power to alter or suspend second Causes, even as he pleaseth; but this he seldom, nay never doth, but by Miracle, as in the days of Joshua and good King Hezekiah.” (Gadbury 1665:A4r)
 Gadbury, in fact, as some other astrologers, had predicted the 1665 outbreak in his publication in April of the same year (De cometis, or, A discourse of the natures and effects of comets..., pp. 47–48, 53–54. See Slack 1985: 252). By the mid-seventeenth-century the practice of predicting future epidemics had become quite common (Porter 2009: 12).
 Slack (1988: 440) argues that most medical writers considered flight from infected towns as the only sure preservative; for example, Gadbury in London’s deliverance predicted (1665) refers to fleeing as “the customary advice of Physicians” (1665: 28).
 It has to be noted, that the emphasized items in bigger font (see Table 1 and 3) are not always comparable. For example, in Charitable pestmaster, Text no. 4, both headline title and the topic word “plague” are of equal size, but visually, the topic word “plague” is more pronounced as it is written in capital letters. A similar effect can be seen in Text no. 7.
 The 1636 edition adds, being elsewhere a verbatim copy of the second edition, that it was first published “in the two Visitations, 1603 & 1625”.
Anon. 1665. The Kings medicines for the plague. Prescribed in the year, 1604. by the whole Collodge of Physitians, both spiritual and temporal. Generally made use of, and approved in the years, 1625, and 1636. And now most fitting for this dangerous time of infection, to be used all England over. London: Printed, for F. Coles, and T. Vere, and are to be sold at their shops in the Old-Baily, and without Newgate. Wing (2nd ed.) / K603B. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:45097815
Anon. 1665[?]. The plagves approved physitian. Shewing the naturall causes of the infection of the ayre, and of the plague. With divers observations to bee used, preserving from the plague, and signes to know the infected therewith. Also many true and approved medicines for the perfect cure thereof. Chiefely, a godly and penitent prayer unto almighty God, for our preservation, and deliverance therefrom. Printed at London, by R. Raworth. Wing (2nd ed.) / P2337. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99831840
Balmford, James. 1603. A short dialogve concerning the plagves infection. Published to preserue bloud, through the blessing of God. London: Printed [by R. Rield] for Richard Boyle, and are to be sold at his shop in Blacke-friers. STC (2nd ed.) / 1338. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99836597
Barker, Richard, Sir. 1665. Consilium anti-pestilentiale, or, seasonable advice, concerning sure, safe, specifick, and experimented medicines, both for the preservation from, and cure of this present plague. Offered for the publick benefit of this afflicted nation, by Richard Barker, med. Lond. London: Printed for the author. Wing / B778. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:10543607
Bèze, Théodore de. 1665. A learned treatise of the plague: wherein the two questions: whether the plague be infectious, or no: and whether, and how farr it may be shunned of Christians, by going aside? are resolved. Written in Latine by the famous Theodore Beza Vezelian. London: Printed by Thomas Ratcliffe, and are to be sold by Edward Thomas at the Adam and Eve in Little Britain. Wing / B2196. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:12170937
D., T. 1665. Food and physick, for every housholder, & his family, during the time of the plague. Very useful, both for the free and the infected. And necessary for all persons, in what condition or quality soever. Together with several prayers and meditations before, in, and after infection. Very needful in all infectious and contagious times. And fit as well for the country as the city. Published by T.D. for the publick good. London: Printed by T. Leach, for F. Coles, at the Lamb in the Old-Baily. Wing / D88. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:13326246
ECCO = Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale Digital Collections. http://gdc.gale.com/products/eighteenth-century-collections-online/
EEBO = Early English Books Online. ProQuest LLC. Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/
Gadbury, John. 1665. London's deliverance predicted: in a short discourse shewing the causes of plagues in general; and the probable time (God not contradicting the course of second causes) when the present pest may abate, &c. By John Gadbury, ... London: Printed by J. C. for E. Calvert, at the Black Spread-Eagle, at the West-end of St. Pauls. Wing / G86. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:8149307
Herring, Francis. 1625. Certaine rvles, directions, or advertisments for this time of pestilentiall contagion: with a caueat to those that weare about their neckes impoisoned amulets as a preseruatiue from the plague: first published for the behoofe of the city of London, in the last visitation, 1603. And now reprinted for the said citie, and all other parts of the land at this time visited; by Francis Hering, D. in physicke, and fellow of the Colledge of Physitians in London. Whereunto is added certaine directions, for the poorer sort of people when they shall be visited. London: Printed by William Iones. STC (2nd ed.) / 13240. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:52633286
Kephale, Richard. 1665. Medela pestilentiae: wherein is contained several theological queries concerning the plague, with approved antidotes, signes and symptoms: also, an exact method for curing that epidemical distemper. Humbly presented to the right honourable, and right worshipful, the lord mayor and sheriffs of the city of London. London: Printed by J. C. for Samuel Speed, and are to be sold at his Shop, at the Rain-bow, near the Temple, in Fleet-street. Wing / K330. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:9369880
Paré, Ambroise, 1630. A treatise of the plague, contayning the causes, signes, symptomes, prognosticks, and cure thereof. Together with sundry other remarkable passages (for the prevention of, and preservation from the pestilence) never yet published by anie man. Collected out of the workes of the no lesse learned than experimented and renowned chirurgian Ambrose Parey. London: Printed by R. Y[oung] and R. C[otes] and are sold by Mich. Sparke, in the green Arbor Court in little Old Bailey, at the blew Bible. STC (2nd ed.) / 19192. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99838903
R., M. 1665. The meanes of preventing, and preserving from, and curing of that most contagious disease, called the plague: with the pestilential feaver, and the fearfull symptomes, and accidents, incident thereunto. Also some prayers, and meditations upon death. London: printed for H. Million, at the Half Moon in the Old Bayley. Wing (2nd ed.) / R45. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99829363
Sherwood, Thomas. 1641. The charitable pestmaster, or, the cure of the plague, conteining a few short and necessary instructions how to preserve the body from infection of the plagve, as also to cure those that are infected. Together with a little treatise concerning the cure of the small pox. Published for the benefit of the poore of this city and not unmeet for the rich. By Thomas Shervvood practitioner in physick. London: Printed by A.N. for John Francklin, and are to be sold at his shop in Lothbury, neer the windmill. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:12798514
Thomson, George. 1666. Loimotomia: or, the pest anatomized in these following particulars, Viz. 1. The material cause of the pest. 2. The efficient cause of the pest. 3. The subject part of the pest. 4. The signs of the pest. 5. An historical account of the dissection of a pestilential body by the author; and the consequents thereof. 6. Reflections and observations on the fore-said dissection. 7. Directions preservative and curative against the pest. Together with the authors apology against the calumnies of the Galenists: and a word to Mr. Nath: Hodges, concerning his late Vindiciae medicinae. By George Thomson, M. D. London: Printed for Nath: Crouch, at the Rose and Crown in Exchange-Alley near Lombard-street. Wing / T1027. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:12075699
Wharton, Thomas. 1665. Directions for the prevention and cure of the plague. Fitted for the poorer sort. London: Printed by J. Grismond. Wing (2nd ed., 1994) / W1577. EEBO: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:citation:99833229
[Winstansley, William(?)]. 1665. The Christians refuge: or heavenly antidotes against the plague in this time of generall contagion. To which is added the charitable physician, prescribing cheap and absolute remedies, for prevention and cure thereof. Published for the benifit of all families. [London]: Sold by H. Marsh at the Princes, Armes in Chancery-Lane. Price. 8d. STC R473769. Wellcome Library London: http://search.wellcomelibrary.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1018175?lang=eng
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||Year (other options)
||A SHORT DIA-
NING THE PLAGVES
Published to preserue bloud,
through the blessing of God.
Psal. 91. 11.
He shall giue his Angels charge ouer thee,
to keepe thee in all thy wayes.
Matth. 4. 7.
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
rev. eds. 1641,
MENTS FOR THIS
TIME OF PESTILENTI-
A caueat to those that weare about their
neckes impoisoned amulets as a Preserua-
tiue from the Plague:
First published for the behoofe of the City of Lon-
don, in the last visitation, 1603. And now reprinted
for the said Citie, and all other parts of the Land at
this time visited; by Francis Hering, D. in
Physicke, and Fellow of the Colledge of Phy-
sitians in London.
Wherevnto is added certaine Directions, for the poorer
sort of people when they shall be visited.
16. Num. 47.
And Aaron tooke as Moyses commanded, and ranne into
the midst of the congregation: and behold the plague was
begun among the people, and he put on incense, and made
an atonement for the people.
|A TREATISE OF
The Causes, Signes, Symptomes, Prog-
nosticks, and Cure thereof.
Together with sundry other remarkable passages
(for the prevention of, and preservation from the
Pestilence) never yet published
by anie man.
Collected out of the Workes of the no lesse learned
than experimented and renowned Chirurgian
PSAL. 91. 5, 6.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terrour by night,---nor for the
Pestilence that walketh in darknesse.
The cure of the
Conteining a few short and necessary
instructions how to preserve the body from
infection of the Plagve, as also to
cure those that are Infected.
Together with a little treatise concer-
ning the cure of the Small Pox.
Published for the benefit of the poore of this City and
not unmeet for the Rich,
By Thomas Shervvood Practitioner in
2 Kings 20. 7.
And Isaiah said, take a lump of Figs, and they tooke, and
laid it upon the boil, and he recovered.
For the Plague.
Prescribed in the year, 1604. by
the whole Collodge of Physitians, both
Spiritual and Temporal.
Generally made use of, and approved in the
years, 1625, and 1636.
And now most fitting for this dangerous time
of Infection, to be used all England over.
Shewing the naturall causes of
the Infection of the Ayre, and
of the Plague.
With divers observations to bee
used, preserving from the
And signes to know the Infected
Also many True and Approved Me-
dicines for the perfect cure
Chiefely, a Godly and Penitent Pray-
er unto Almighty God, for our
Preservation, and Deliverance
Sure, Safe, Specifick, and Experi-
mented MEDICINES, both
for the Preservation from, and
Cure of this Present
Offered for the Publick Benefit of this
Richard Barker, Med. Lond.
Gloriam da Deo pro Misericordiâ,
& verÍre Judicia ejus.
The two Questions: Whether the Plague
be Infectious, or no: And Whether, and
how farr it may be shunned of Christians,by
going aside? are resolved.
Written in Latine by the famous Theodore Beza Vezelian.
A Short Discourse
Shewing the Causes of
The probable time (God not contra-
dicting the course of second Causes)
when this present PEST
may abate, &c.
By John Gadbury, [Greek omitted].
2. Sam. 24. 25. So the Lord was intreated for the land,
and the Plague was stayed from Israel.
Wherein is contained several
Approved Antidotes, Signes, and Symptoms:
An exact Method for curing that
Humbly presented to the Right Ho-
nourable, and Right Worshipful, the
Lord Mayor and Sheriffs
of the City of London.
Preventing, and Preserving from,
and Curing of that most Conta-
gious Disease, called the
The Pestilential Feaver, and the fear-
full Symptomes, and Accidents,
Also some Prayers, and Meditations upon Death.
By one who desires it may bee for the glory of God, and
the good of all People.
Amos. 3. 6.
Shall there bee evil in the City, and the Lord hath not done it?
In this time of Generall Contagion
To which is added the
Cheap and Absolute Remedies,
PREVENTION and CURE
Published for the Benefit of all
||Food and Physick,
Housholder, & his Family,
During the Time of the
Very Useful, both for the Free
and the Infected.
And Neceβary for all Persons, in what Con-
dition or Quality soever.
Together with several Prayers and Meditations,
before, in, and after Infection.
Very needful in all Infectious and
And fit as well for the Country, as the City.
Published by T. D. for the Publick Good.
and CURE of the
Fitted for the Poorer sort.
Wisdom 17. 12.
For FEAR is nothing else but a Betraying of those
Succours which Reason offereth.
In these following particulars, Viz.
1. The Material Cause
2. The Efficient Cause
3. The Subject Part
4. The Signs
of the PEST.
5. An Historical Account of the Dissection
of a Pestilential Body by the Author;
and the Consequents thereof.
6. Reflections and Observations on the fore-
7. Directions Preservative and Curative
against the Pest.
Together with the Authors Apology against
the Calumnies of the Galenists: and a
Word to Mr. Nath: Hodges, concerning
his late Vindiciæ Medicinæ.
By George Thomson, M. D.
[BIBLICAL QUOTE IN GREEK]
Dii talem terris avertite Pestem.