psychosomatic illness in early modern england

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Psychosomatic Illness in Early Modern England

Psychosomatic Illness in Early Modern EnglandKatrina BoisvertUniversity of AlbertaJuly 2014

Katrina BoisvertUniversity of AlbertaJuly 20141 psyche of the mind/spirit somatic of the bodyoforpertainingtoaphysicaldisorderthatiscausedornotablyinfluencedbyemotional factors.

Research FocusThe Great Chain of Being and how ideas of naturalness versus unnaturalness intersect with psychosomatic illness.Medical and spiritual understandings found in extant sources of the periodShakespearean dramasGendering? melancholia vs. hysteria?

1579 drawing of the Great Chain of Being from Didacus Valades, Rhetorica Christiana.

4Medical UnderstandingsDiverse vocabularyDiverse symptoms and treatmentsAttempts to secularize treatmentSources of symptoms/illnessHumoralEcstaticBethlem HospitalTreatment or storage facility

Frontispiece for1638 edition; first printed in 1621

"The dayly experience of phrensies, madnesse, lunasies, and melancholy cured by .. . art in that kinde, hath caused some tojudge more basely of the soule...I have layd open howe the bodie, and corporall things affect the soule, & how the body is affected of it againe: what the difference is betwixt natural melancholie, and that heavy hande of God upon the afflicted conscience, tormented with remorse of sinne, & feare of his judgement.

Bethlem Hospital: Treatment or storage facility

A Church of Our Lady that is named Bedlam. And in that place be found many men that be fallen out of their wit. And full honestly they be kept in that place; and some be restored onto their wit and health again. And some be abiding therein for ever, for they be fallen so much out of themselves that it is incurable unto man - William Gregory, Lord Mayor of London (1450)

Biblical1 Corinthians 12:12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the membrs of that one body, being many, are one bodie: so also is Christ. (KJV, 1611)

James 5:16Confesse your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that yee may bee healed: the effectuall feruent prayer of a righteous man auaileth much. (KJV, 1611)

Gendering? Regendering?MelancholieBlack bileHysteria PassioUterusPassio Latin to suffer/suffering

Shakespearean DramasMacbeth (1605-6; 1623)Lady MacbethMacbethHamlet (1600-1; 1604)OpheliaHamletKing Lear (1605-6; 1608)King LearEdgarTitus Andronicus (1593-4; 1594)TitusLaviniaJulius Caesar (1599-1600; 1623)Brutus


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