This book explores the important connections between medicine and political culture that often have been overlooked. In response to the French revolution and British radicalism, political propagandists adopted a scientific vocabulary and medical images for their own purposes. New ideas about anatomy and pathology, sexuality and reproduction, cleanliness and contamination, and diet and drink migrated into politics in often startling ways, and to significant effect. These ideas were used to identify individuals as normal or pathological, and as “naturally” suitable or unsuitable for public life. This migration has had profound consequences for how we measure the bodies, practices and abilities of public figures and ourselves.
Corinna Wagner is Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter.
"An impressive effort and a valuable contribution to the history of the body... The book brings together a large amount of excellent research over the last two or three decades on women, race, embodiment, consumption, disease, and political culture... On the whole Wagner tackles her diverse sources consistently and well, in a way that should be of value to future scholars."—Emma Spary Isis Journal, University of Chicago Press
"This book ties together the rich but well-trodden field of political symbolism with an analysis of medical debates in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century France and Britain."—Bulletin of the History of Medicine