Conserving health in early modern culture

Bodies and environments in Italy and England

Edited by Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey

Conserving health in early modern culture


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1347-4
  • Pages: 344
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: July 2017
  • BIC Category: Early Modern History, Social & cultural history, History of medicine, History & Archaeology, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Medicine / History of medicine, History of Medicine, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Europe / Italy, MEDICAL / History, HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century, England, Italy, General & world history, c 1500 onwards to present day, 18th century, c 1700 to c 1799
  • Series: Social Histories of Medicine


Did early modern people care about their health? And what did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England? Through a range of textual evidence, images and material artefacts Conserving health in early modern culture documents the profound impact which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on intellectual life and the material world in this period. In both countries staying healthy was understood as depending on the careful management of the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink, excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the soul'. To a close scrutiny, however, models of prevention differed considerably in Italy and England, reflecting country-specific cultural, political and medical contexts and different confessional backgrounds.

The following two chapters are available open access on a CC-BY-NC-ND license here:

3 'Ordering the infant': caring for newborns in early modern England - Leah Astbury

4 'She sleeps well and eats an egg': convalescent care in early modern England - Hannah Newton


'This volume represents a significant contribution to the burgeoning discussion of the non-naturals and to the comparative history of early modern European health care that will hopefully inspire further comparisons of other European examples.'
Jennifer Evans, University of Hertfordshire, Social History of Medicine Vol. 32, No. 1
History of emotions


Conserving health: the Non-Naturals in early modern culture and society - Sandra Cavallo
Part I: A comparative perspective on preventive literature
1 Regimens, authors and readers: Italy and England compared - Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey
Part II: The Non-Naturals and the vulnerable body
2 'What to expect when you're always expecting': frequent childbirth and female health in late Renaissance Italy - Caroline Castiglione
3 'Ordering the infant': caring for newborns in early modern England - Leah Astbury (available open access)
4 'She sleeps well and eats an egg': convalescent care in early modern England - Hannah Newton (available open access)
Part III: Airs and places
5 Neapolitan airs: health advice and medical culture on the edge of a volcano - Maria Conforti
6 The afterlife of the Non-Naturals in early eighteenth-century Hippocratism: from the healthy individual to a healthy population - Maria Pia Donato
Part IV: Spiritual health and bodily health
7 Sleep-piety and healthy sleep in early modern English households - Sasha Handley
8 English and Italian health advice: Protestant and Catholic bodies - Tessa Storey
Part V: Spaces, paintings and objects: performing and portraying health
9 Chasing 'good air' and viewing beautiful perspectives: painting and health preservation in seventeenth-century Rome - Frances Gage
10 Hot drinking practices in the late-Renaissance Italian household: a case-study around an enigmatic pouring vessel - Marta Ajmar


Sandra Cavallo is Professor of Early Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London

Tessa Storey is Honorary Research Associate in Early Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 30% off all future book orders

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout