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Moffett, Thomas

ELIZABETH HODGSON


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


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Thomas Moffett (or Moffet, Muffet, or Moufet) (1553–1604) is known today for three different bodies of work: published treatises on medical and scientific topics, largely in Latin; two somewhat more populist English works, one on health and one on silkworms; and a recently discovered manuscript Latin biography and eulogistic poem about Sir Philip Sidney. Thomas Moffett was born in 1553. He trained at Cambridge and then in Basle, earning an MA from Trinity College and then an MD in Switzerland. After some years of European travel, he returned to England in 1580. Though an adherent of Paracelsian medicine, and therefore initially at odds with the largely Galenist medical establishment in London, he was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians in 1585, becoming a fellow and then censor of the College shortly thereafter. In 1591 he was personal physician to Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, during his military campaign in Normandy. Sometime in 1592 or 1593 he took up residence at Wilton, the country seat of Henry Herbert, second earl of Pembroke. He served as member of parliament for Wilton in 1597, and remained a pensioner there until his death in 1604. All five of Moffett's medical publications are in Latin, with two drawn from his master's thesis. They establish his credentials as an advocate of the new ‘chemistry-based’ medical theories of Paracelsus and his disciples. Of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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