Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 May 2011
It is commonly argued that in the early modern period remedy books formed the most popular end of ‘a spectrum from popular to elite medicine’, with theoretical textbooks at the most elite end (Wear 2000: 40). A more accurate description of the situation would be to say that remedy books spanned the whole spectrum from popular to elite medicine, as remedies were prepared by and for the rich and the poor alike and they constituted ‘a shared material culture between lay people and medical practitioners’ (Wear 2000: 103). Although the pragmatic and interpersonal aspects of medieval and early modern recipes and related genres have previously been examined by Taavitsainen and Pahta (1995), Taavitsainen (2001c), Mäkinen (2002) and Grund (2003) (see also Ratia and Suhr, Chapter 10 in this volume), their relationship to the intended audience as stated by the author has not been studied systematically.
This chapter examines the textual strategies that seventeenth-century writers of printed remedy books aimed at laypeople employed to make them more accessible to their stated target audience. The question is approached by comparing a selection of recipe collections, ostensibly aimed at common laypeople, to English translations of authoritative recipe collections meant for the use of the medical community. The interpersonal strategies employed by the authors of the nine recipe collections will be compared by looking at several indicators of interpersonal orientation, including overt reference to the reader in the text, the use of authority references to convince readers and the use of classical languages and terminology in the recipe collections.