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Products for grant FA-251391-17

The Mind-Body Connection in French Literature, 1600-1735
Allison Stedman, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Grant details:

“Mind over Matter: Mineral Springs and the Power of the Imagination in Seventeenth-Century France,” (Book Section)
Title: “Mind over Matter: Mineral Springs and the Power of the Imagination in Seventeenth-Century France,”
Author: Allison Stedman
Editor: Michael Call
Abstract: Although thermal medicine originated as a result of ancient beliefs in the ability of water to transmit supernatural gifts from the divinity to humanity, by the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. the practice was already becoming both secularized and medicalized thanks to the rise of humoral medicine, which maintained that disease originated from imbalances in bodily fluids that mineral springs were uniquely positioned to restore. Renaissance physicians took the humoral approach even further by studying the mineral properties of individual springs and prescribing treatments that targeted specific, individual conditions. But despite the efforts of the early modern medical community to convince its patients that balneology was an empirical science, the uneven results of their prescriptions led many people to question the material simplicity of thermal cures. If two people were affected with the same illness and followed the same external regimens, why was one person cured, while the other was not? Did the person’s state of mind play a role in the cure? This paper will examine how beliefs about the power mind over matter evolved over the course of the 17th century through a comparison of the positions of Michel de Montaigne, René Descartes and Jean Racine on the curative mechanics of mineral springs.
Year: 2021
Publisher: narr/francke/attempto
Book Title: Enchantement et désillusion en France au XVIIe siècle
ISBN: 9783823385202