Europe's Physician The Various Life of Theodore de Mayerne Hugh Trevor-Roper, Blair Worden

Publication date:
26 Sep 2006
464 pages: 239 x 165 x 41mm

Among the papers of Hugh Trevor-Roper, who died in 2003, was a manuscript to which he had repeatedly turned for more than thirty years, but never published. Attracted by the diverse life and vivid personality of Sir Theodore de Mayerne (1573--1655), the most famous physician in Europe of his time, Trevor-Roper pursued him across national and intellectual frontiers to uncover the details of his extraordinary life. Exploring an array of English and European sources, Trevor-Roper reveals the story of the pioneering Swiss Huguenot doctor who mixed medicine with diplomacy, with political intrigue, with secret intelligence, and with artistic interests at the courts first of Henry IV of France and then of James I and Charles I of England. A true "renaissance man," Mayerne's interests were broad, and due to considerable conspiratorial talent, he became a participant in bluff and intrigue at the highest levels. The most ambitious and perhaps the most original of all Trevor-Roper's books, written in his luminous prose, this is a major work of political and intellectual history that presents a whole period in a fresh and vivid light.

 Read more about Hugh Trevor-Roper, historian and author.

'Professor Worden has done well to extract this handsome biography from the Dacre papers. How much more unpublished work is still among them? This one proves that the author never lost his capacity for original research or for writing a big book, even while he was publishing acute historiography on a small scale.' - Eric Christiansen, The Spectator

'... a marvellous evocation of medicine, religion and high politics in 17th Century Europe.' - Noel Malcolm, The Sunday Telegraph

'This is an intellectually exciting biography, one that deploys original research to reach universal conclusions. Trevor-Roper's scholarly reputation was seriously damaged by his careless identification of the fraudulent Hitler diaries. His life of Mayerne should contribute towards its restoration.' - Adam Sisman, Literary Review

'Historically, this book is a triumph, revealing, through a thorough mastery of the relevant French, Italian, German and Latin sources, how European concerns - military, diplomatic, intellectual - impinged on English political life and shaped its course to a degree that few English historians have fully credited.' - John Adamson, The Sunday Telegraph

'Trevor-Roper's exhaustive research has led to much new material about de Mayerne's extracurricular activity in the field of "royal diplomacy'... [Written with] clear style and enjoyable flourishes... [this book] is a model of liveliness and clarity." - Peter Parker, Saturday Telegraph

'Blair Worden has marshalled Trevor-Roper's manuscript into a fascinating biography of a man who crossed the worlds of medicine, diplomacy, art and religion.' - Jerry Brotton, BBC History Magazine

'...a compelling mixture of medicine and intrigue.' - Dominic Sandbrook, The Daily Telegraph

'Europe's Physician paints a robust picture of a larger than life character...Trevor-Roper has written a long but lively book of immense scholarship that will delight those with interests in the Renaissance and Reformation.' - Alan Cane, Financial Times Magazine

'...if you want to be reminded that the purpose of a great history book, as of a great play or a great novel, is to transform how you see the world around you, then you should read this last relic of a lost age. Great history books are few and far between. This is one.' - David Wooton, Times Literary Supplement