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Chapter 4 'She sleeps well and eats an egg’: convalescent care in early modern England (Book chapter)

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Book Series: Social Histories of Medicine ISBN: 9781526113498 Year: Pages: 29 Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press Grant: Wellcome Trust - 095760
Subject: Medicine (General) --- History --- Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-10 11:01:04
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"Very little is known about early modern approaches to convalescence and the author investigates the measures were taken by physicians and laypeople to restore health after illness. Drawing on medical texts, regimens, letters, and diaries, this chapter shows that the treatment of the convalescent differed both from the care of the sick and the healthy. It shows the vital place of the non-naturals in early modern medicine, and the role played by ‘Nature’, understood as the body’s principal agent and governor in physiological processes. 
The author finds that the 'six non-natural things' were on the one hand used as a way of gauging the extent of recovery, and on the other, were manipulated in a therapeutic role to ensure that both strength and flesh were restored. Thus, any remaining humours which might cause a relapse must be evacuated: good sleep, improved appetite and an ability to exercise were all signs of improvement but each, managed appropriately, also helped to restore strength, whilst negative emotions could endanger recovery and in its place cheerfulness –which was a restorative-must be encouraged."

Misery to Mirth

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ISBN: 9780198779025 9780198779025 Year: Pages: 288 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198779025.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Subject: Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2018-07-25 11:01:02
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The history of early modern medicine often makes for depressing reading. It implies that people fell ill, took ineffective remedies, and died. This book seeks to rebalance and brighten our overall picture of early modern health by focusing on the neglected subject of recovery from illness in England, c.1580–1720. Drawing on an array of archival and printed materials, Misery to Mirth shows that recovery did exist conceptually at this time, and that it was a widely reported phenomenon. The book takes three main perspectives: the first is physiological or medical, asking what doctors and laypeople meant by recovery, and how they thought it occurred. This includes a discussion of convalescent care, a special branch of medicine designed to restore strength to the patient’s fragile body after illness. Secondly, the book adopts the viewpoint of patients themselves: it investigates how they reacted to the escape from death, the abatement of pain and suffering, and the return to normal life and work. At the heart of getting better was contrast—from ‘paine to ease, sadnesse to mirth, prison to liberty, and death to life’. The third perspective concerns the patient’s loved ones; it shows that family and friends usually shared the feelings of patients, undergoing a dramatic transformation from anguish to elation. This mirroring of experiences, known as ‘fellow-feeling’, reveals the depth of love between many individuals. Through these discussions, the book opens a window onto some of the most profound, as well as the more prosaic, aspects of early modern existence, from attitudes to life and death, to details of what convalescents ate for supper and wore in bed.

Keywords

recovery --- convalescence --- cure --- heal --- patient --- medicine --- disease --- death --- emotions --- joy

CHAPTER 5 ‘Rapt Up with Joy’: (Book chapter)

Author:
Book Series: Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood ISBN: 9781137571991 Year: Pages: 21 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Grant: Wellcome Trust
Subject: Sociology --- Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-15 13:34:07
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This chapter takes advantage of recent insights from the history of
emotions to offer a fresh perspective on children’s emotional responses to
death. Drawing on a range of printed and archival sources, it argues that
children expressed diverse and conflicting emotions, from fear and anxiety,
to excitement and ecstasy. In contrast to Houlbrooke and Stannard, I
have found that children’s responses seem to have changed little over the
early modern period. This continuity is largely due to the endurance of
the Christian doctrine of salvation, with its hauntingly divergent fates of
heaven and hell.

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