Murky waters

British spas in eighteenth-century medicine and literature

By Sophie Vasset

Murky waters
Hardcover +
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526159717
  • Publish Date: Jun 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526178824
  • Publish Date: Apr 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526159700
  • Publish Date: Jun 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5970-0
    • Published Date: June 2022
    • Series: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies


    Murky waters challenges the refined image of spa towns in eighteenth-century Britain by unveiling darker and more ambivalent contemporary representations. It reasserts the centrality of health in British spas by looking at disease, the representation of treatment and the social networks of care woven into spa towns. The book explores the great variety of medical and literary discourses on the numerous British spas in the long eighteenth century and offers a rare look at spas beyond Bath. Following the thread of 'murkiness', it explores the underwater culture of spas, from the gender fluidity of users to the local and national political dimensions, as well as the financial risks taken by gamblers and investors. It thus brings a fresh look at mineral waters and a pinch of salt to health-related discourses.


    'Murky Waters makes a convincing and fascinating case for the spa as an ambivalent, contradictory, space that melded nostalgia and bucolic landscapes with subversive potential: a venue for gossip, sexual experimentation, and forging new and radical political alliances.'
    Jennifer Wallis, Northern History


    1 Sick bodies
    2 From bogs to jug: a risky remedy?
    3 Waters of desire: promiscuity, gender and sexuality
    4 Pump room politics and the murky past of spas
    5 Pumping and pouring: watering places and the money business


    Sophie Vasset is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the Institute for Research on the Renaissance, Classical Age and Enlightenment, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3

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