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Special Topics Course

**Note:Spring 2019 only (Tar Heel Tracker adjustment required)

In this course, we will read a range early modern medical texts, including plague tracts, anatomical treatises, regimens, herbals, and midwifery manuals, to consider how this material may inform our understanding of the period’s beliefs about bodies, sex, gender, emotions, temperament, disease, mortality, and sin. We will also examine how this medical discourse instructs our interpretation of more familiar literary genres of the period, including drama, poetry, and prose. We will ask a range of questions, such as: What social narratives can we discern in medical writing? Why were writers obsessed with melancholy? How did people explain the plague? What were the common methods of curing? What were the cultural assumptions about professional and lay medical practitioners? How did religion shape medicine and sickness? When and how did physic intersect with magic? Literary texts may include works by William Shakespeare, John Webster, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, Edmund Spenser, and more.