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By Alanna Skuse

This e-book is open entry lower than a CC-BY licence. This e-book takes the 1st in-depth examine how humans considered, clinically determined and taken care of melanoma within the early sleek interval, reading ingenious literature, clinical texts and private accounts.

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Extra info for Constructions of Cancer in Early Modern England: Ravenous Natures

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5 Stolberg’s contention is based on a range of evidence, including early modern anatomical drawings and treatises, and writing on sex-specific diseases. In this chapter, I argue that cancer – particularly breast and womb cancers – constituted one such ‘sex-specific’ disease, which was understood as contingent upon a humoral and anatomical pathology unique to the female sex. It is to be noted, however, that my argument for cancers as linked to sexspecific traits does not preclude a degree of continuity between male and female states.

In general, medical practitioners positing a humoral explanation for cancer looked only so far inward – to the level of adust melancholy or atra bilis – before, like Read, they turned their gaze once more toward the environmental factors which aggravated that substance. They were therefore either unable, or saw no good reason, to supply details of exactly what happened inside the body to turn melancholy into these more harmful substances. The neo-Galenic model seems not to have fostered inquiry into the mechanics of each humour’s operation, but rather focussed upon their qualitative characteristics.

0 Unported License. org/version4 OPEN 2 Cancer and the Gendered Body On 3 December 1700, noblewoman Sarah Cowper wrote in her diary: ‘My breast is unquiet and gives me troublesome apprehensions. 1 Beside the entry was a marginal note in the same hand: ‘Fearing a Cancer’. In this chapter, I will argue that Cowper’s identification of her breast as the ‘troublesome’ site where a cancer might breed was, in part, born of contemporary medical and cultural orthodoxy. The feminine body – in particular, the female breast – was, for early modern medical practitioners and lay observers, the paradigmatic site of cancerous growth.

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