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

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More About This Textbook


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, he 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.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Note on the text
1 Introduction: functionalist organicism and the origins of social pathology 1
2 "Enter at the least pore": early modern medicine and bodily infiltration 19
3 "Ev'ry poison good for some use": the poisonous political pharmacy and its discontents 48
4 Public enemas: the disjunctions of the excremental Jewish pharmakon 79
5 "To stop her mouth with Truths authority": the poisonous tongue of the witch and the word of God 107
Conclusion: the persistence of the pathological body politic 141
Notes 147
Bibliography 176
Index 192
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