Hans Sachs (1494-1576), while also a cobbler, was the most prolific German author of the 16th century. He was the immediate literary successor in prestige to Hans Folz (died 1513) who thought of himself as a barber. Both lived in the important Bavarian city of Nuremberg. Folz, after about two centuries of performance, began to modernize the art of Master Song, as well as produce rhymed contemporary and satyrical commentary on various topics, including medicine. Sachs followed Folz in further advancing Master Song as well as composing humorous anecdotes, satirical comedies and tragedies, along with biographical and political essays on numerous topics (more than 6,000 in all). Folz was critical of the papacy, and Sachs demonstrated in many verses to be a devout Christian, as well as becoming a strident follower of Luther. However, this book largely focuses on writings that have relevance to medicine both metaphorically and realistically, and especially on how the doctor-patient relationship is depicted. While 16th century therapeutics obviously have little relevance to modern practice, the reader should see similarities with the contemporary idealized doctor-patient relationship. Furthermore, do conflicts that were considered funny five centuries ago elicit similar reactions now? (Nova)
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