This book examines the overlap between early modern English attitudes to disease and to society and explores the cultural meaning of the image of the body at the interfaces of medicine, morality and politics in Tudor and early Stuart England. In particular, it demonstrates how the body politic's metaphorical "cankers" and "plagues" were increasingly attributed to allegedly pathological "foreign bodies" such as Jews, Catholics, and witches. One can glimpse the origins of not only modern xenophobic attitudes to foreigners as carriers of disease, but also "germ" theory in general. The pathological and the political thus have a long-standing, problematic, and mostly neglected relationship, the prehistory of which this book seeks to uncover.
List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Note on the text; 1. Introduction: functionalist organicism and the origins of social pathology; Part I. Pathologizing the Body Politic: 2. 'Enter at the least pore': early modern medicine and bodily infiltration; 3. 'Ev'ry poison good for some use': the poisonous political pharmacy and its discontents; Part II. Handy-Dandy, Which is the Justice, Which is the Thief?: 4. Public enemas: the disjunctions of the excremental Jewish pharmakon; 5. 'To stop her mouth with Truth's authority': the poisonous tongue of the witch and the word of God; Conclusion: the persistence of the pathological body politic; Notes; Bibliography; Index.