The essays in this collection offer an expansive view of how medical concerns have shaped and continue to shape our lives and destinies through the subtle communicative power of the visual arts and their interpretation in historical context. Each author demonstrates how works of art and the imagery of popular culture both reflect and reinforce the power of medical beliefs to define and to limit human behavior, and how art and medicine work together to communicate social directives in support of a perceived common good. Beginning in the seventeenth century and continuing to the modern era, subjects include discussions of hysteria, addiction, neurasthenia, consumption, cholera, and the culture of physical fitness as socially constructed phenomena that communicate powerful political agendas. Illustrated. Laurinda S. Dixon currently holds the William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities at Syracuse University.
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