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Ill ComposedSickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England$
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Olivia Weisser

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300200706

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300200706.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Ill Composed
Author(s):

Olivia Weisser

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300200706.003.0001

This chapter introduces the book’s main historical figures and central argument: despite key overlaps, seventeenth-century English men and women perceived illness in gendered ways. Patients’ perceptions, however, were not shaped by gender alone. Rather, a host of beliefs, expectations, and experiences intersected with gender to inform patients’ views. The chapter discusses three categories that are particularly central to the analysis in this book: writing practices, religious beliefs, and economic status. The chapter then situates the project in three bodies of literature: the history of the patient, early modern gendered experience, and early modern autobiographical writing. The discussion closes by outlining the diverse sources that are used in the book to recover patients’ perceptions.

Keywords:   early modern, illness, historiography, history of the patient, women’s and gender history, constructions of the self, autobiographical writing, firsthand accounts

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