Cover

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Series Page, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword

Charles E. Rosenberg

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pp. vii-x

Disease we have always had with us. Our ancestors suffered pains in their joints, debilitating coughs and exhausting diarrheas, sore throats and bloody urine, painful and sometimes mortal swellings. Ancient bones tell us that pathological processes are older than written records. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

To imagine and to tell the story of a disease is a peculiar task, and particularly so for fever, at once a familiar experience and a central component of recondite medical theories in many traditions and over long periods. My debts in this book are many. ...

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Chapter 1. More Than HOT

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pp. 1-16

In The Doctor (1891), by Sir Luke Fildes, a middle-aged male physician in a rumpled suit sits chin in hand, carefully watching a sleeping, pale-cheeked child. Distressed parents huddle in the background. Although clinical settings have evolved, the painting has continued to reflect the noble ideal of bedside medicine.1 ...

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Part I. The Fevers of Classical Medicines

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pp. 17-22

The two chapters in this first part explore concepts and philosophies of fever. By concepts of fever I mean the sorts of circumstances that occasion use of the vocabulary of febrility within a culture. Such usage may be contested, but acknowledgment of febrility requires some degree of shared perceptions by victims, societies, and practitioners, ...

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Chapter 2. Words

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pp. 23-53

The Indian medical sage Susruta called fever the “lord of ailments.” He regarded it as “king of all bodily distempers inasmuch as it can affect the whole organism at one time.” It bounded human lives and was “perhaps an indispensable condition under which a creature can come into being or can depart from this life.” ...

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Chapter 3. Books

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pp. 54-88

“Galenism,” syncretic and shifting, would become the medical philosophy of Byzantium, Islam, and later the Latinate world and the European empires. Though often remembered only for the dogma of the four humors and an erroneous map of the circulatory system, Galen was more important as an architect of medical reasoning, governor of vocabulary, ...

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Part II. Fever as Social

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pp. 89-92

It is easy to understand what made plague social. Not only did it provoke a powerful public reaction as authorities took steps to cleanse their towns, seal off affected areas, and hospitalize (or bury) victims but it invited individuals to be mindful of the people around them, who might be spreaders of plague, and of the adequacy of the institutions that were to meet the crisis. ...

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Chapter 4. Communities

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pp. 93-124

Fever became a social and then a public matter only gradually over the long eighteenth century. It became an issue for friends, countrymen, townsfolk, soldiers, and sailors. ...

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Chapter 5. Selves

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pp. 125-164

The flip side of growing interest in the fevers of others was fascination with one’s own. The terrible rotting fevers of soldiers and sailors might tell us of the perilous life they led, and Cork’s unique fever might warn us of the dangers of the beefy Irish diet, but what was the message of one’s own fever? ...

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Part III. Fever Becomes Modern

First, it became plural. Centuries of ambiguity about how to characterize fever ended as broad and loose adjectival classifications gave way to well-defended nouns—the modern array of many “fevers,” each essentially distinct. This approach was dominant after 1840. ...

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Chapter 6. Facts

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pp. 167-205

In 1842 the most doctrinaire of the Paris-trained American doctors, Elisha Bartlett, then on the medical faculty of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, pronounced the death of fever. “There is no such disease as that . . . expressed . . . by the term fever.”1 ...

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Chapter 7. Naming the Wild

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pp. 206-249

The story of nineteenth-century medicine is usually told as a story of the civilizing of disease. At century’s end the consummation of bacteriology would finally vindicate the commitment to ontology, the boxing and naming of diseases, the legacy of Pierre Louis. That consummation was most striking in the “long-established category of fevers,” ...

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Chapter 8. Numbers and Nurses

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pp. 250-280

Presenting a paper entitled “Proper Nursing Absolutely Necessary for the Successful Treatment of Typhoid Fever” to his county medical society at the end of the nineteenth century, the rural Illinois physician J. B. Coleman confessed that in his early career he had had “trouble in treating typhoid.” ...

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Part IV. Fever, Modern and Post-Modern

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pp. 281-284

For roughly a century now, fever has been something utterly different than at any other time in human history. When I took up this project, I mused briefly about applying for a grant to the National Institute of Fever. Of course, there is no NIF among the more than twenty institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health, nor is there need for one. ...

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Chapter 9. Machines, Mothers, Sex, and Zombies

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pp. 285-312

For much of the twentieth century the scourge fevers still scourged. Often it was clear what caused them and how their spread might be stopped. Concentrated by region and social situation, their presence divided human experience. For some they remained regular features of life and death. ...

Notes

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pp. 313-368

Index

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pp. 369-383