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Distributed for Iter Press

My Life’s Travels and Adventures

An Eighteenth-Century Oculist in the Ottoman Empire and the European Hinterland

In her never-finished My Life’s Travels and Adventures, the eighteenth-century Polish doctor Regina Salomea Pilsztynowa plays a myriad of roles, including child bride, wife, mother, lover, adventuress, slave trader, writer, and home-taught physician. She successfully carved out a viable niche for herself, navigating the multicultural, multiethnic, and varied religious environment of Europe’s eastern periphery. Despite limited expectations for female professionals, she became a highly sought after and well-respected practitioner of the medical arts and rose to the position of court physician to Turkish pashas and Hungarian princes, and even to Sultan Mustafa III. My Life’s Travels and Adventures—part memoir, part autobiography, and part travelogue—provides a view into eighteenth-century social, professional, and gender interactions and weaves a rich narrative replete with vignettes of love, travel, and popular superstitions important to our historical, ethnographic, and religious understanding of the era.

This edition brings the entirety of this personal and idiosyncratic memoir to English for the first time.

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“Thanks entirely to the discovery of her lost memoir at the end of the nineteenth century, Regina Salomea Pilsztynowa enjoys the reputation of being the first female doctor in Polish history. And how all this came about is a fascinating story, vividly conveyed in Roczniak’s tour-de-force translation. . . . Pilsztynowa’s compelling story as told in this splendid critical edition is worthy of her legacy.”

Barry Keane, University of Warsaw

Table of Contents

The Other Voice
Her Life, Her Book, and Her Times
The Emancipate’s Journey
Pilsztynowa as Other, Pilsztynowa and Others
Note on Locations and Translation
My Life’s Travels and Adventures
Preface, To the Estimable Reader
Chapter One, First Journey to Istanbul, and Other Adventures
Chapter Two, My Second Marriage, and Other Adventures
Chapter Three, The Disagreement with Mr. Bekierski, and My Cavalier
Chapter Four, My Second Arrival in Istanbul
Chapter Five, The Turkish Sect
Chapter Six, The Route to Jerusalem
Chapter Seven, About Fasting on Saturdays
Appendix One: Glossary of Places
Appendix Two: Pilsztynowa’s Patients
Appendix Three: Chronology

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