The Disease of Virgins: Green Sickness, Chlorosis, and the Problems of Puberty
When does a young girl's behaviour become a disease? In sixteenth-century Europe, the disease of virgins, or green sickness, was seen as a common disorder affecting young unmarried girls. Its symptoms included weakness, dietary disturbance, lack of menstruation and most significantly, a change in skin colour. Understanding of the condition turned puberty and virginity into medical problems, and proposed to cure them by bloodletting, diet, exercise, and marriage. Helen King examines the origins and history of the disease, from its roots in the classical tradition to its extraordinary survival into the 1920s, despite changes in how the mechanisms of puberty and menstruation were understood, and enormous shifts in medical theories and technologies. From menstrual disturbance to eating disorders, from liver disease to blood disorder, the disease of virgins has been adjusted throughout its history to fit medical fashions. However, little changed in the underlying ideas about the female body, and the need to regulate the sexuality of young women. This compelling study poses a number of questions about the nature of disease itself and the relationship between illness, body image and what
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The Disease of Virgins: Green Sickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty
No preview available - 2003
adolescence Amatus Lusitanus amenorrhoea anaemia ancient Anna’s anorexia nervosa argued Ashwell Baillou bloodletting Brumberg Bullein Calvi Cambridge cause chapter chlorosis chlorotic cited claimed classical condition constipation Cullen cure described diagnosis diet dietary digestive discussed disease of virgins Diseases of women disorder doctors early modern edition emmenagogues example female body female puberty Fogo Galenic Galenic model Greek green sickness gynaecology Hippocrates Hippocratic corpus Hippocratic text Hobby humours idea included Jane Sharp jaundice label Lange Lange’s letter Latin letting blood liver London love sickness male marriage medical texts medical writers medieval menarche menses menstrual blood menstrual suppression menstruation morbis mulierum natural nineteenth century obstruction pale Paris particular patient period physician Plutarch pregnant puberty pulse Raciborski recommended remedies Renaissance role Sappho seen Sennert seventeenth century sexual sixteenth century skin colour Soranos sufferers suggested symptoms theory translation treatise treatment University Press Varandal veins white fever woman womb young girls
Page 190 - THE CHANGE OF LIFE IN HEALTH AND DISEASE: a Practical Treatise on the Nervous and other Affections incidental to Women at the Decline of Life. Second Edition. 8vo. cloth, 6s.
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