Progress and pathology

Medicine and culture in the nineteenth century

Edited by Sally Shuttleworth, Melissa Dickson and Emilie Taylor-Brown

Progress and pathology


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3368-7
  • Pages: 392
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: February 2020
  • BIC Category: Sociology, HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century, SOCIAL SCIENCE / General, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Medicine / History of medicine
  • Series: Social Histories of Medicine


This collaborative volume explores changing perceptions of health and disease in the context of the burgeoning global modernities of the nineteenth century. With case studies from Britain, America, France, Germany, Finland, Bengal, China and the South Pacific, it demonstrates how popular and medical understandings of the mind and body were reframed by the social, cultural and political structures of 'modern life'. Essays within the collection examine ways in which cancer, suicide, and social degeneration were seen as products of the stresses and strains of 'new' ways of living. Others explore the legal, institutional, and intellectual changes that contributed to modern medical practice. The volume traces ways that physiological and psychological problems were being constituted in relation to each other, and to their social contexts, and offers new ways of contextualising the problems of modernity facing us in the twenty-first century.


Introduction - Sally Shuttleworth, Melissa Dickson, and Emilie Taylor-Brown

Part 1: Constructing the modern self
1 Revolutionary shocks: The French human sciences and the crafting of modern subjectivity - Laurens Schlicht
2 Innocence, impairment, and pathology: Constructing childhood in a late nineteenth-century charitable home - Steven Taylor
3 Phrenology as neurodiversity: The Fowlers and modern brain disorders - Kristine Swenson
4 Medical negligence in nineteenth-century Germany - Torsten Riotte

Part 2: Paradoxes of modern living
5 Rhythm and adaptation in the machine age - Laura Marcus
6 'Drooping with the Century': Fatigue and the fin de siècle - Steffan Blayney
7 A disease-free world: Hygienic utopia in Jules Verne, Camille Flammarion, and William Morris - Manon Mathias
8 Pathology of progress: Cancer, modernity, and decline in nineteenth-century Britain - Agnes Arnold-Forster
9 The Curse and the gift of modernity in late nineteenth-century suicide discourse in Finland - Mikko Myllykangas

Part 3: Negotiating global modernities
10 From physiograms to cosmograms: Daktar Binodbihari Ray Kabiraj and the metaphorics of the nineteenth-century - Ayurvedic Body, Projit Mukharji
11 Dr Williams' pink pills for pale people and the formation of global modernity - Alice Tsay
12 Poisonous arrows and unsound minds: Missionary modernity in the Victorian South Pacific - Daniel Simpson

Part 4: Legacies of medicine and modernity
13 What is your complaint? Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century - Christopher Hamlin

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