Article ID: CBB266241183

Medicine, Metaphor, and 'Crisis' in the Early Modern Social Body (2016)


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, English Civil War playlets, and political treatises by Harrington, Winstanley, Coppe, and Hobbes, seeks to understand better 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.

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Authors & Contributors
Furdell, Elizabeth Lane
Krafft, Fritz A.
Steiger, Johann Anselm
Porter, Roy S.
Schama, Simon
Mahdavi, Shireen
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Renaissance Studies
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
University of Rochester Press
W. W. Norton & Co.
State University of New York Press
Publications des universi
Medicine and religion
Medicine and politics
Public health
Disease and diseases
Physicians; doctors
Luther, Martin
Mayerne, Theodore Turquet de
Salisbury, Robet Cecil, Earl of
Shakespeare, William
Donne, John
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
18th century
Early modern
19th century
Basel (Switzerland)
Great Britain

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