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Title: The sick child in early modern England, c. 1580-1720
Author: Newton, Hannah Claire
ISNI:       0000 0003 7556 2860
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2009
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The thesis explores medical perceptions and treatments of children, and argues that a concept of 'children's physic' existed amongst doctors, medical authors, and the literate laity. 'Children's physic' denotes the idea that children were physiologically distinct beings, whose medicines needed to be adapted to suit their unique temperaments. The thesis also examines the family's experience of the child's illness, demonstrating that parents devoted considerable time and energy to the care of their sick offspring. The illness or death of a child was one of the saddest occasions in parents' lives, eliciting feelings of profound grief, fear, and guilt. It is shown that gender did not have much impact on the nature of parents' experiences: both mothers and fathers were involved in the practical tasks of tending their ill offspring, and both parties recorded emotions of extreme anguish at this time. Finally, the thesis attempts to reconstruct the experiences of the ailing children themselves, exploring what it was like being ill, in pain, and near death. It asserts that children's experiences were characterised by striking ambivalence: on the one hand, children were often tormented by feelings of guilt, the fear of hell, and physical pain, but on the other hand, illness could be emotionally and spiritually uplifting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available