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Open Access (free)
Medicine and culture in the nineteenth century

This collaborative volume explores changing perceptions of health and disease in the context of the burgeoning global modernities of the long nineteenth century. During this period, popular and medical understandings of the mind and body were challenged, modified, and reframed by the politics and structures of ‘modern life’, understood in industrial, social, commercial, and technological terms. Bringing together work by leading international scholars, this volume demonstrates how a multiplicity of medical practices were organised around new and evolving definitions of the modern self. The study offers varying and culturally specific definitions of what constituted medical modernity for practitioners around the world in this period. Chapters examine the ways in which cancer, suicide, and social degeneration were seen as products of the stresses and strains of ‘new’ ways of living in the nineteenth century, and explore the legal, institutional, and intellectual changes that contributed to both positive and negative understandings of modern medical practice. The volume traces the ways in which physiological and psychological problems were being constituted in relation to each other, and to their social contexts, and offers new ways of contextualising the problems of modernity facing us in the twenty-first century.

Open Access (free)
Melissa Dickson
Emilie Taylor-Brown
, and
Sally Shuttleworth

. 32 This particular disease of modern life carried different meanings in different social, cultural, and political contexts. Part of the function of this collection, then, is to register both the disciplinary convergences that give rise to such diagnoses, and the varying and culturally specific conditions of what constituted medical modernity around the world. Nineteenth-century anxieties about health and modernity have attracted a good deal of attention in recent scholarship, much of this focusing upon discrete disease

in Progress and pathology
Open Access (free)
Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
Christopher Hamlin

a limited time a fourth more work’, and dying earlier by exactly that proportion. 25 Yet the protests do not come from the victims who ‘silently pine and die’, but from humanitarian investigators. 26 In his extended treatment, Diseases of Modern Life (1882), Richardson embraced the stresses of intellectual and artistic work. In the case of manual labourers, ‘who wear out by such action itself, or by the addition of certain

in Progress and pathology
The Fowlers and modern brain disorder
Kristine Swenson

effective medical therapies, they are preferable to extreme and dangerous therapies. The Fowlers’ negotiation of medicine and modernity was decidedly uneven. While not denying the diseases of modern life or the evolutionary correlation between progress and pathology, the Fowlers offered a medical paradigm and system of treatments that lessened the weight of modernity upon the individual. They triumphed in the modern arenas of market capitalism and information dissemination, advocating a radical individualism that promised greater agency in modern

in Progress and pathology
Fatigue and the fin de siècle
Steffan Blayney

-Vibration and Excitation as Agents in the Treatment of Functional Disorder and Organic Disease (London: J. & A. Churchill, 1883), 11. 37 G. Beddoes, Habit and Health: A Book of Golden Hints for Middle Age (London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co, 1890), pp. xv–xvi 38 B. Ward Richardson, Diseases of Modern Life

in Progress and pathology
Open Access (free)
Tania Anne Woloshyn

degenerative influences and diseases of modern life, and was thus a weapon of social hygiene. It cut across class lines too: natural and artificial sunlight was enthusiastically aimed onto rich and poor alike, curatively and preventively, via local free and private clinics, hospitals, schools (especially open-air schools, enthusiastically promoted by the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis), outdoor parks and

in Soaking up the rays