Bodies Politic: Disease, Death, and Doctors in Britain, 1650-1900

Cornell University Press, 2001 - 328 σελίδες
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The renowned historian Roy Porter here takes us on an entertaining trip through more than two hundred years of visual and verbal accounts of the body and medicine. Focusing his attention for the first time on visual imagery, Porter examines the ways in which the sick and their healers were represented to the culture at large from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth century. The author combines erudition, a sharp sense of humor, and abundant art to show how contrasting conceptions of the healthy and diseased body were mapped onto antithetical notions of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. He juxtaposes images of disease to illustrations of medical practice, exploring self-presentations by physicians, surgeons, and quacks and showing how practitioners' public identities changed over time. Bodies Politic argues that the human body is the chief signifier and communicator of all manner of meanings—religious, moral, political, and medical alike—and that pre-scientific medicine was an art that depended heavily on performance, ritual, rhetoric, and theater. Throughout, Porter makes clear the wide metaphorical and symbolic implications of disease and doctoring.

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Framing the Picture
2 The Body Grotesque and Monstrous
3 The Body Healthy and Beautiful
4 Imagining Disease
5 Prototypes of Practitioners
6 Profiles of Patients
7 Outsiders and Intruders
8 Professional Problems
9 The Medical Politician and the Body Politic
10 Victorian Developments
Select Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements
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Roy Sydney Porter was born December 31, 1946. He grew up in a south London working class home. He attended Wilson's Grammar School, Camberwell, and won an unheard of scholarship to Cambridge. His starred double first in history at Cambridge University (1968) led to a junior research fellowship at his college, Christ's, followed by a teaching post at Churchill College, Cambridge. His Ph.D. thesis, published as The Making Of Geology (1977), became the first of more than 100 books that he wrote or edited. Porter was a Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge from 1972 to 1979; Dean from 1977 to 1979; Assistant Lecturer in European History at Cambridge University from 1974 to 1977, Lecturer from 1977 to 1979. He joined the Wellcome Institute fot the History of Medicine in 1979 where he was a Senior Lecturer from 1979 to 1991, a Reader from 1991 to 1993, and finally a Professor in the Social History of Medicine from 1993 to 2001. Porter was Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1994, and he was also made an honorary fellow by both the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Roy Porter died March 4, 2002, at the age of 55.

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