Epidemic Disease and Human Understanding: A Historical Analysis of Scientific and Other Writings

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McFarland, 10 de febr. 2006 - 268 pàgines
For more than three thousand years of recorded history, human beings have struggled to understand the epidemic--the rapid spread of a contagious disease throughout a human population. This book draws on an extensive list of primary texts to present a comprehensive history of epidemiological thought. The book is primarily concerned with the human experience of epidemic disease and the various ways this experience has been conceptualized and communicated. Part I examines ancient religious, mythological and philosophical paradigms used to comprehend and interpret epidemic disease. Following the ancient period, perceptions changed; epidemics were understood as natural phenomena rather than as instruments of divine purpose. This transition is covered in Part II and illuminated by historical documents, such as Thucydides' description of the plague of Athens. Systematic examination of biomedical phenomena, which began in the seventeenth century and developed into modern medicine, is the focus of Part III. Finally, Part IV considers the ways in which epidemic disease has been treated in various works of literature. The discussion includes eyewitness accounts as well as such popular works of fiction as Sinclair Lewis' Arrowsmith and Albert Camus' The Plague. In surveying human responses to endemic disease, the book draws connections between three sub-genres of epidemiological writing: the encyclopedia, the intellectual history, and the biographical collection.
 

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Continguts

The PreConceptual Modality
16
GrecoRoman
27
Early Christian PreConceptuality
38
The Observational Modality
47
Eyewitness
55
The Investigative Modality
71
The Topography of Inference
78
From Etiology to Synergy
103
Eyewitness Reporting
153
Plague Extrapolations
172
Figurative Language
198
The Yellow Fever Construct
221
The Dynamics of Fear and the Mechanisms of Resistance
236
Index
251
Copyright

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Sobre l'autor (2006)

Charles De Paolo, the author of numerous books, is a professor of English at Manhattan Community College, the City University of New York. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

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