Medicine and Shakespeare in the English Renaissance

Overview

What precisely does Falstaff mean when he speaks of "inland petty spirits" in his monologue on the advantages of alcohol (sack) in Henry IV Part 2? What does Lear mean when he exclaims, "hysterica passio . . . down, thou climbing sorrow"? What were the associations likely evoked by Parolles' reference to the artists "both of Galen and Paracelsus," when All's Well That Ends Well was first staged around 1604, and how did Shakespeare's audience respond to the play's story of the cure of the French king's fistula by ...
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Univ of Delaware Pr, 03/01/1992, Hardcover, Very Good condition. Acceptable dust jacket.

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Overview

What precisely does Falstaff mean when he speaks of "inland petty spirits" in his monologue on the advantages of alcohol (sack) in Henry IV Part 2? What does Lear mean when he exclaims, "hysterica passio . . . down, thou climbing sorrow"? What were the associations likely evoked by Parolles' reference to the artists "both of Galen and Paracelsus," when All's Well That Ends Well was first staged around 1604, and how did Shakespeare's audience respond to the play's story of the cure of the French king's fistula by a woman? Medicine and Shakespeare in the English Renaissance attempts to answer these and many other questions that episodes and passages in Shakespeare raise. Although designed for students of the literature, history, and thought of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, the book appeals to all who are fascinated by Shakespeare. Unlike enthusiastic treatments by doctors of Shakespeare's knowledge of medicine, it is the work of a scholar specializing in Elizabethan drama who, guided by medical historians, has ventured into an interdisciplinary field. Several chapters describe the background of various theoretical and practical aspects of medicine with which Shakespeare's educated contemporaries were familiar. How did they think about the body with its physiological processes and their relation to mind and soul? How were health and various diseases understood? How were the sick treated, where, and by what kinds of people? What were the chief methods of treatment and what was the rationale for them? What kinds of literature provided ordinary literate Elizabethan men and women with useful medical information? How much controversy was there in medical thought and practice? Yet the book's central focus remains on Shakespeare. While much of the background has its own interest, the exposition seldom continues for long without quotations from Shakespeare or a fellow poet or dramatist to illustrate a concept or detail, or that in the context invite explication. Episo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874134254
  • Publisher: University of Delaware Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1992
  • Pages: 408

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
General Introduction 11
Pt. I Medicine and Medical Practitioners in the Age of Shakespeare
1 Medical Practitioners in Shakespeare's Time: Physicians, Surgeons, Lay-Women, and Others 17
2 How Did Shakespeare Gain His Medical Knowledge? With a Survey of Sixteenth-Century Books in English on Medicine and Related Subjects 32
3 Doctors in Shakespearean and Other Plays 54
Pt. II Major Medical Philosophies and Systems
4 Galenic Medicine: A Brief History of Its Authority up to the Age of Shakespeare 71
5 Basic Tenets of Galenic Medicine 82
6 Paracelsian Medicine and Shakespeare 117
Pt. III Physiology and Psychology: The Body and How It Functions
7 Different Traditions Concerning the Role of the Brain and the Heart, and Their Imagery 131
8 Galen on the Digestive and Vascular Systems, the Liver, and the Heart 140
9 The Brain, Nerves, Senses, and Inward Wits in Galen and Later 150
10 The Passions and the Body 162
Pt. IV Pathology, Diagnosis, and Therapy
11 Healing and Disease 181
12 Magical Versus Natural Causes of Certain Diseases 195
13 Diseases Referred to in Shakespeare's Plays 216
14 Common Methods of Diagnosis 229
15 Means of Therapy 234
Pt. V Three Shakespearean Plays Examined in the Light of Literary and Medical Traditions
16 The Royal Cure of Scrofula or the King's Evil in Macbeth and in Shakespeare's Time 275
17 The She-Doctor and the Miraculous Cure of the King's Fistula in All's Well That Ends Well 287
18 The Development of Lear's Madness 307
Appendix: The Isagoge by Joannitius 339
Notes 347
Works Cited 375
General Index 387
Index to Shakespearean Plays and Passages 399
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