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The Miraculous Conformist
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The Miraculous Conformist: Valentine Greatrakes, the Body Politic, and the Politics of Healing in Restoration Britain

Peter Elmer


In 1666 an Irish gentleman called Valentine Greatrakes achieved brief but widespread fame as a miracle healer. Dubbed the ‘Stroker’, he is widely believed to have touched and cured thousands of men, women and children suffering from a large range of acute diseases and chronic conditions. His actions attracted the attention of the King, Charles II, as well as other eminent figures at court and in the various institutions of government and learning, including the newly founded Royal Society. However, there was little consensus as to the nature and origin of his gift and, following a brief period ... More

Keywords: Greatrakes, healing, Restoration, body politic, witchcraft, latitudinarian, religion, politics, Ireland

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199663965
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663965.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Elmer, author
Senior Lecturer, Department of History, The Open University