Introduction

In Cynthia Klestinec & Gideon Manning (eds.), Professors, Physicians and Practices in the History of Medicine: Essays in Honor of Nancy Siraisi. Springer Verlag (2017)
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Abstract

The German word Festschrift is a compound of fest, which derives from the Latin festum, meaning “festival,” and schrift, an abstractum of schreiben, which means “writing.” It literally means “festival-writing,” though in keeping with an academic tradition extending back to the nineteenth century, a more appropriate translation is “celebratory volume.” And that is precisely what this is. The essays collected here celebrate Nancy Siraisi, distinguished professor emerita in history at Hunter College and the City University of New York. Most Festschriften are tied to a momentous occasion, such as a seventieth birthday or a retirement, but this volume arose sui generis, from a collective desire to celebrate Siraisi’s scholarly achievements and to acknowledge the professional and personal impact she has had on each of us, on the discipline of history, and on the history of medicine and science in particular. Siraisi’s work is marked by lucid prose, profound originality, authoritative analysis of texts, and an accessibility that invites attention and response: she has been an invaluable guide through the periods spanning the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century, always with an eye toward a better understanding of medicine’s connections to the broader intellectual, social, and cultural context in which it was taught, studied, and practiced. Her work embodies that rare combination of impeccable scholarship and deep insight guaranteeing its endurance, not only on its own terms but also through its influence on the rest of us.

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