John Donne’s Language of Disease
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John Donne’s Language of Disease reveals the influence of medical knowledge -- a rapidly changing field in early modern England -- on Donne’s thinking and writing. This knowledge played a crucial role in shaping how Donne understood his everyday experiences, and how he conveyed those experiences in his work. Examining a wide range of his texts through the lens of medical history, this study contends that Donne was both a product of his period and a remarkable exception to it. He used medical language in unexpected and striking ways that made his ideas resonate with his original audience, and that can illuminate his ideas for readers today.
Table of Contents
Introduction Exploring Donne’s Dynamic Comparisons
Chapter 1 More Than Skin Deep: Dissecting Donne’s Imagery of Humours
Chapter 2 Cures and Currency in Donne’s Letters to Patrons
Chapter 3 Swollen Desires: Dropsy and Donne’s Writing
Chapter 4 ‘We May Have Recourse’: Describing Illness in
Chapter 5 ‘Sinfull Inough to Infect’: Donne’s Imagery of Contagion
Chapter 6 ‘Holy Perfume’: The Fragrance of Cures in Donne’s Sermons
Conclusion ‘How Lame a Picture’: Depicting the Sick Body
Alison Bumke is an Assistant Professor of Seventeenth-Century Literature and Drama at the University of Nottingham.