This chapter asks what imaginative representations of venereal disease say about Restoration and eighteenth-century attitudes toward the geographically, politically, or nationally “foreign.” More specifically, it suggests that while some experts have argued for a link “between imagining disease and imagining foreignness,” venereal disease in the eighteenth-century imagination was ultimately associated less with the foreign other than with what might be called the foreign self: attributed more often to allies or rivals than to outright enemies, it provided a means of vilifying not those who remained completely outside the nation, but those who influenced or infiltrated it—those, in other words, who threatened to compromise the boundaries between foreigner and native.
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