Bodies Politic

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, Limited, Feb 15, 2021 - 368 pages
In this historical tour de force, Roy Porter takes a critical look at representations of the body in health, disease, and death in Britain from the mid-seventeenth to the twentieth century. Porter argues that great symbolic weight was attached to contrasting conceptions of the healthy and diseased body and that such ideas were mapped onto antithetical notions of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. With these images in mind, he explores aspects of being ill alongside the practice of medicine, paying special attention to self-presentations by physicians, surgeons, and quacks, and to changes in practitioners' public identities over time. Porter also examines the wider symbolic meanings of disease and doctoring and the "body politic." Porter's book is packed with outrageous and amusing anecdotes portraying diseased bodies and medical practitioners alike.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2021)

Roy Porter (1946-2002) was professor of the social history of medicine at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. He is the author of many books.

Bibliographic information