This is a guide to the ailments, general medical concepts and cures and therapies in Shakespeare that includes recent critical work on the early modern body. Physicians, readers and scholars have long been fascinated by Shakespeare's medical language and the presence or mentioning of healers, wise women, surgeons and doctors in his work. This dictionary includes ailments, general medical concepts (elements, humours, spirits) and cures and therapies (ranging from blood-letting to herbal medicines) in Shakespeare, but also body parts, bodily functions, and entries on 'the pathological body' taking into account recent critical work on the early modern body. It will provide a comprehensive guide for those needing to understand specific references in the plays, in particular, archaic diagnoses or therapies ('choleric', 'tub-fast') and words that have changed their meanings ('phlegmatic', 'urinal'); those who want to learn more about early modern medical concepts ('elements', 'humors'); and those who might have questions about the embodied experience of living in Shakespeare's England.
Entries reveal what terms and concepts might mean in the context of Shakespeare's plays, and the significance that a particular disease, body part or function has in individual plays and the Shakespearean corpus at large. "The Continuum Shakespeare Dictionary" series provides authoritative guides to major subject-areas covered by the poetry and plays. The dictionaries provide readers with a comprehensive guide to the topic under discussion, especially its contemporary meanings, and to its occurrence and significance in Shakespeare's works. Comprehensive bibliographies accompany many of the items. Entries range from a few lines in length to mini-essays, providing the opportunity to explore an important literary or historical concept or idea in depth.
Sujata Iyengar is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Georgia. She is author of Shades of Difference: Mythologies of Skin Color in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)