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FA-251391-17Research Programs: Fellowships for University TeachersAllison Stedman, PhDThe Mind-Body Connection in French Literature, 1600-17351/1/2017 - 12/31/2017$50,400.00Allison Stedman   University of North Carolina, CharlotteCharlotteNC28223-0001USA2016French LiteratureFellowships for University TeachersResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length study of the relationship between body and mind in French literary, religious, philosophical, and medical texts, from 1600 to 1735.

The book reveals an alternative trajectory for the evolution of beliefs about the relationship between body and mind--one in which ancient theories about the ability of emotions to generate physical symptoms are not abandoned with the rise of Cartesian dualism, but rather reoriented to give preference to the agency of the mind as opposed to the dynamic of forms, spirits and bodily humors in influencing the physical manifestations of illness and health. Although the Cartesian view of the body as a machine whose functioning takes place independent of conscious thought gained support from mainstream medical and theological communities during the 1600s, my book provides evidence that many people took the medieval, scholastic view of the mind-body connection in a different direction, creating texts that anticipate the modern notion of "holism"--the idea that the mind is part of the body and that thoughts could thus be direct causes of disease and other physical symptoms.