By Helen King

From an acclaimed writer within the box, it is a compelling examine of the origins and heritage of the sickness more often than not visible as afflicting younger single ladies. knowing of the situation became puberty and virginity into health conditions, and Helen King stresses the continuity of this ailment via history,depsite huge, immense shifts in scientific figuring out and technonologies, and drawing parallels with the trendy ailment of anorexia. analyzing its roots within the classical culture all through to its remarkable survival into the Twenties, this research asks a couple of questions about the character of the affliction itself and the connection among disease, physique pictures and what we should always call‘normal’ behaviour. it is a interesting and transparent account so as to end up worthy not only to scholars of classical experiences, yet might be of curiosity to doctors additionally.

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Disease of Virgins: Green Sickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty

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Extra resources for Disease of Virgins: Green Sickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty

Sample text

The theme of sufferers’ attitude to food will be taken up in chapter 4. Green sickness and the disease of virgins The next step for green sickness was to move from being a digestive disorder most common in women, to become a disease characteristic of young girls, particularly virgins. In the Western medical tradition, symptoms and diseases ideally need classical names. Proctalgia fugax sounds far more impressive than ‘a fleeting pain in the rectum’, but it simply translates the words into Latin.

But Stengel’s symptom-picture also included paleness; he transferred it to the hair, suggesting that it may become ‘light coloured in spots’. A similar shift in the ‘pale’ motif was used by Sir Andrew Clark, who suggested that ‘now and then a finger, or a small tract of skin upon the body, will become suddenly blanched and remain in that condition for hours’ (Clark 1887:1004), and by Ralph Stockman (1895b: 1473), who stated that the patient’s bodily products were also Very pale’, specifically the urine and faeces (cf.

As well as unrequited love (Johnson 1849:50, 52–4), it could be caused by bereavement (Burq 1852:16) or fright (Trousseau 1872:108; Stengel 1896:329; see Hudson 1977:454–5). Preeighteenth century writers such as Dubois (1559:148) had already listed anger and sorrow as factors leading to insufficient menstrual blood being produced. However, love was implicated as early as Lange, who claimed that the women of Brabant called his ‘disease of virgins’ not only white fever, but also love fever. What was the appropriate complexion for a sufferer from love sickness?

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