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Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century$
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Rebecca Anne Barr, Sylvie Kleiman-Lafton, and Sophie Vasset

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526127051

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526127051.001.0001

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The soul in the entrails: the experience of the sick in the eighteenth century

The soul in the entrails: the experience of the sick in the eighteenth century

Chapter:
(p.80) 4 The soul in the entrails: the experience of the sick in the eighteenth century
Source:
Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
Author(s):

Micheline Louis-Courvoisier

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526127051.003.0005

This chapter discusses the close link between emotional and cognitive dysfunctions and visceral disturbances, in the experience of melancholia and nervous diseases in the eighteenth century. It is based on epistolary consultations sent to Dr S.-A. Tissot between 1750 and 1797. According to the patients, their belly was a complex zone of internal movements and sensations, which coexisted, in the same narrative movement, with mental troubles. The aerial and hydropneumatic element of the body – such as winds, vapours, animal spirits – played an important role in describing mind-body suffering. This element found pathways throughout in the body, even outside the humoural and nervous system. These aerial movements generated pain, disquiet, sadness or disgust.

Keywords:   Animal spirits, mind/body connection, melancholia, nervous disease, emotional and cognitive troubles

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