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Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic

Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic
Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England

$139.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: May 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521594059

$ 139.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the overlap between early modern English attitudes to disease and to society and explores the cultural meaning of the image of the body at the interfaces of medicine, morality and politics in Tudor and early Stuart England. In particular, it demonstrates how the body politic's metaphorical "cankers" and "plagues" were increasingly attributed to allegedly pathological "foreign bodies" such as Jews, Catholics, and witches. One can glimpse the origins of not only modern xenophobic attitudes to foreigners as carriers of disease, but also "germ" theory in general. The pathological and the political thus have a long-standing, problematic, and mostly neglected relationship, the prehistory of which this book seeks to uncover.

    • Interesting analysis of the image of the body at the interfaces of medicine, morality and politics in Tudor and early Stuart England
    • An interdisciplinary study drawing from a broad variety of cultural documents, from medical textbooks to popular drama
    • An outstanding contribution to early modern studies and to the history of science
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1998
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521594059
    • length: 216 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Note on the text
    1. Introduction: functionalist organicism and the origins of social pathology
    Part I. Pathologizing the Body Politic:
    2. 'Enter at the least pore': early modern medicine and bodily infiltration
    3. 'Ev'ry poison good for some use': the poisonous political pharmacy and its discontents
    Part II. Handy-Dandy, Which is the Justice, Which is the Thief?:
    4. Public enemas: the disjunctions of the excremental Jewish pharmakon
    5. 'To stop her mouth with Truth's authority': the poisonous tongue of the witch and the word of God
    Conclusion: the persistence of the pathological body politic

  • Author

    Jonathan Gil Harris, Ithaca College, New York

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