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Diet and Health in Early Modern England and Italy. A Comparative Study of the Theoretical and Practical Understandings of Humoral Principles

Pozzetti, Giovanni (2018) Diet and Health in Early Modern England and Italy. A Comparative Study of the Theoretical and Practical Understandings of Humoral Principles. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the assimilation and application of humoral medical knowledge in early modern Italy and England. By focusing on food and drink consumption, it seeks to examine how medical advice was expressed in printed health regimens and how it was applied in eating habits. The comparative aspect of this research aims to break down the homogenisation of the reception of humoral medicine in early modern Europe that is pervasive in studies of early modern medicine. This project focuses on four sets of ingredients, and it aims to re-evaluate the medical significance of food and drink. Historians have focused on the social and cultural meanings of food in the early modern period. I investigate understandings of how food was considered to be a source of nourishment for the body rather than placing an emphasis on food as a tool of social demarcation. This thesis fits into a recent revisionist strand of scholarship that aims to re-shape our understanding of differences in dietary habits amongst different social strata. This work combines a range of approaches to investigate the everyday experiences of individuals, families, cities, polities and nations with food and drink, from a medical standpoint. The study encompasses a range of modes of eating, from everyday meals to banquets, and argues that well-known and common ways of consuming foods were rooted in humoral theory. Sometimes the application of medical advice to food habits was unconscious. This thesis will argue for an implicit presence of humoral medicine in food consumption in early modern Italy and England. Well-known and enduring combinations of ingredients that defined important traditions of the culinary cultures of both Italy and England were both the result and the vehicle of applied medical knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of History (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mr Giovanni Pozzetti
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 12:54
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 12:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24161

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