Predicting Life and Death in the Later Middle Ages

  • Seminar
Photograph of Dr Joanne Edge standing in the John Rylands Library in Manchester.  In the background, there are wooden shelves with books and a stained glass window.
Dr Joanne Edge, Thomas SG Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

What you’ll do

Hear Dr Joanne Edge discuss how physicians in the later Middle Ages predicted the outcomes of illnesses: when and whether sufferers would die, recover or decline. Using manuscripts in Wellcome Collection, Dr Edge will reflect on the ethically fraught issue of prognosis that continues to affect medical practitioners and patients today.

Following the presentation from our speaker there will be an opportunity to discuss her ideas.

About your speaker

Photograph of Joanne Edge

Joanne Edge


Dr Joanne Edge is a historian who specialises in late-medieval and early modern European social and cultural history, with an emphasis on medicine and the ‘occult’ sciences: divination, magic and astrology. She has previously worked as Assistant Editor on the Wellcome-funded Casebooks Project at the University of Cambridge and is currently Latin Manuscripts Cataloguer at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. Her first book, ‘Numerological Divination in Late Medieval England’, is under contract with Boydell and Brewer.



Need to know


We’ll be in the Viewing Room. It’s next to the Library entrance on level 2, which you can reach by taking the lift or the stairs.

Limited spaces available

Spaces are first come, first served and may run out if we are busy so you may wish to arrive early. If you have any access requests or requirements, email us at or call 020 7611 2222.

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