Medicine, metaphor, and 'crisis' in the early modern social body

Healy, Margaret (2016) Medicine, metaphor, and 'crisis' in the early modern social body. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 46 (1). pp. 117-139. ISSN 1082-9636

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In the political turmoil of mid seventeenth-century England, both socio-political utopias and dystopias were repeatedly imagined through corporeal images and medical metaphors and narratives. The new iatrochemistry—Paracelsian and subsequently Helmontian medicine—featured especially prominently in this intriguing textual landscape. Focusing on this particular healing paradigm, and drawing on insights from cultural theory of the body and medical history, this intertextual analysis of medical writings, civil war playlets and political treatises by Harrington, Winstanley, Coppe and Hobbes, seeks better to understand the complex interplay of medical, political and religious ideas and discourses around the nexus of the body in the turbulent revolutionary years. The findings challenge the notion that there was an ontological relationship between chemical medicine and radical politics in these years of crisis, demonstrating that, on the contrary, political writers drew upon medical ideas and metaphors selectively and often inconsistently in order to lend persuasive authority to their arguments.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England > DA129 By period > DA300 Modern, 1485- > DA400 Civil War and Commonwealth, 1642-1660
P Language and Literature > PE English > PE0814 Early Modern English
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R702 Medicine and the humanities. Medicine and disease in relation to history, literature, etc.
Depositing User: Margaret Healy
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2015 14:20
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2017 13:06
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