Title Pathological Realities
Subtitle Essays on Disease, Experiments, and History
Author Mirko D. Grmek
ISBN 9780823280353
List price GBP 21.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 224
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Fordham University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
About the book Send Enquiry


“A medical doctor by training, [Grmek] opened a new chapter in the history of medicine. Instead of focusing on illnesses as a human condition and the historically changing means of their conceptualization and remediation, he paved the way for looking at diseases as historical agents, both in their interactions with each other and their impacts on the course of human culture, be it plague in the Middle Ages or AIDS more recently. . . He was a paragon of crossing boundaries: national, cultural, linguistic, as well as disciplinary borders.”

—Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, from the foreword



Mirko D. Grmek (1924-2000) is one of the most significant figures in the history of medicine, and has long been considered a pioneer of the field. The singular trajectory that took Grmek from Yugoslavia to the academic culture of post-war France placed him at the crossroads of different intellectual trends and made him an influential figure during the second half of the twentieth century. Yet, scholars have rarely attempted to articulate his distinctive vision of the history of science and medicine with all its tensions, contradictions, and ambiguities. This volume brings together and publishes for the first time in English a range of Grmek’s writings, providing a portrait of his entire career as a historian of science and an engaged intellectual figure. Pathological Realities pieces together Grmek’s scholarship that reveals the interconnections of diseases, societies, and medical theories.

Straddling the sciences and the humanities, Grmek crafted significant new concepts and methods to engage with contemporary social problems such as wars, genocides and pandemics. Uniting some major strands of his published work that are still dispersed or simply unknown, this volume covers the deep epistemological changes in historical conceptions of disease as well as major advances within the life sciences and their historiography. Opening with a classic essay – “Preliminaries for a Historical Study of Diseases,” this volume introduces Grmek’s notions of “pathocenosis” and “emerging infections,” illustrating them with historical and contemporary cases. Pathological Realities also showcases Grmek’s pioneering approach to the history of science and medicine using laboratory notebooks as well as his original work on biological thought and the role of ideologies and myths in the history of science. The essays assembled here reveal Grmek’s significant influence and continued relevance for current research in the history of medicine and biology, medical humanities, science studies, and the philosophy of science.


Foreword by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger

Editor and Translator’s Note

Introduction: Mirko Grmek’s Investigative Pathway by Pierre-Olivier Méthot

Part I: Pathocenosis: Diseases in History

Chapter 1. Preliminaries for a Historical Study of Diseases

Chapter 2. The Concept of Emerging Disease

Chapter 3. Some Unorthodox Views and a Selection Hypothesis on the Origin of the AIDS Viruses

Part II: Experiments and Concepts in Life Sciences

Chapter 4. First Steps in Claude Bernard’s Discovery of the Glycogenic Function of the Liver

Chapter 5. The Causes and the Nature of Ageing

Chapter 6. A Survey of the Mechanical Interpretations of Life from the Greek Atomists to the Followers of Descartes

Part III: History of Science: the Laboratory of Epistemology

Chapter 7. A Plea for Freeing the History of Scientific Discoveries from Myth

Part IV: Memoricide: War and the Eradication of Cultural Memory

Chapter 8. A Memoricide

Chapter 9. Dubrovnik: The Slavic Athens





About the Author:

Mirko D. Grmek (1924-2000) was a Croatian and French historian, writer, and scientist.

Target Audience:

People interested in medicine.           


Special prices are applicable to the authorised sales territory only.
Prices are subject to change without prior notice.