Lives, Letters, Bodies: John Locke's medical interactions contextualised
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This study offers a close, interdisciplinary reading of several specific instances in which health and sickness were discussed or considered by Locke and his contemporaries. Medical historians have long known that Locke was a medical adviser and practitioner of sorts, and his medical 'cases' have traditionally been scrutinised for details of his medical career and for details of past illnesses and treatments, read against a context of specifically medical thought. In a departure from that tradition, this study presents several of Locke's health-related interactions in their contemporary social contexts, These contexts are not exclusively medical, and it is shown how health issues overlapped with and permeated discussions of land, literature, gender, politics and religion. Focussing on specific micro-historical scenes, this study explores the myriad ways in which health was configured in Locke's world. In this study, we see Locke engaged in presenting the health of a colony in Carolina in America; employed in the management of Anthony Ashley Cooper's festering abscess; writing to the Fletchers of Saltoun about nature-hastening medicines and ignorant practitioners; subduing rumours about Matthew Slade, a mentally unstable scholarly friend; helping Elizabeth Northumberland to describe her searing pains, and more. In this thesis, stories of health from Locke's world are interwoven with similar short scenes of health from his published works to show the reader how Locke himself considered health-related scenes stimulating and illuminating.
AuthorsSmith, Olivia Freundlich
- Theses