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Bodies politic : disease, death, and doctors in Britain, 1650-1900.

Porter, Roy.

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ISBN 10: 0801439531 / ISBN 13: 9780801439537
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Verkäufer Kloof Booksellers & Scientia Verlag (Amsterdam, Niederlande)

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Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2001. Hardcover. Dustjacket. 328 pp. (Picturing history series). - Introductory : framing the picture -- The body grotesque and monstrous -- The body healthy and beautiful -- Imagining disease -- Prototypes of practitioners -- Profiles of patients -- Outsiders and intruders -- Professional problems -- The medical politician and the body politic -- Victorian developments. Condition : as new copy. ISBN 0801439531[KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF MEDICINE, Buchnummer des Verkäufers 240747

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Titel: Bodies politic : disease, death, and doctors...

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

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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.


The role of doctors and their interactions with patients have changed a great deal over the centuries. Noted historian Roy Porter uses visual and literary images of medical practitioners and the sick to examine these shifting relationships in Bodies Politic: Disease, Death, and Doctors in Britain, 1650-1900.

The period after the Restoration saw an explosion of visual representations of medical subjects. Shrewdly noting that these images both reflected and shaped cultural perceptions, Porter analyzes them for clues about health and sickness, doctors, quacks, and patients, and the relationships between them all.

Perhaps the most interesting chapter in Bodies Politic revolves around the transfer of idioms of sickness and healing to the realm of politics. The use of medical imagery as a tool for satire dates at least to ancient Greece, but as Porter (and several of the book's 137 illustrations) reveals, it became an art form in the 18th century. Twenty-first century political cartoonists have nothing on Cruikshank, Gillray, and Rowlandson.

Though this is a dense book, Porter writes with his usual wit and erudition throughout Bodies Politic. A welcome addition to the scholarly literature on medical, political, and art history. --Sunny Delaney

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