CFPs in Renaissance Intellectual History

Rhetoric and Medicine in Early Modern Europe

Source of Information: FICINO 2001-04-10
Date of Event: 2002-04-11 to 13
Location of event: Tempe, USA
Deadline for abstracts etc.: 2001-04-25

Rhetoric and Medicine in Early Modern Europe
Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, Tempe, AZ
11-13 April 2002

In the late 1570s at Oxford, John Rainolds, lecturing on the _Rhetoric_,
wrote that "Aristotle defines rhetoric as the power or faculty of seeing
what may be probable in any situation."  Rhetoric "does not create
probabilities, but instead perceives them."  Like the physician, the rhetor
must be able to see "what may be probable in any situation";  perhaps,
Rainolds concludes, "medical practice itself will become a part of rhetoric
[.]"  In 1589, George Puttenham recommended that in certain instances,
particularly in lamentations, poets become physicians.  Though there is
some "joy to be able to lament with ease," it is necessary for the poet "to
play also the Physitian, and not onely by applying a medicine to the
ordinary sicknes of mankind, but by making the very greef it selfe (in
part) cure of the disease" (The Arte of English Poesie).   In oratorical
theory, logic, poetics, conduct books, and fiction, the intrication of
rhetoric and medicine is pervasive.  Recently, Nancy Struever has argued
for "a dual history of medicine and rhetoric," centring on cure and the
passions, as a viable line of inquiry into early modern intellectual
history.  Given recent interest in literature and medicine, it seems timely
to assess the role of rhetoric in medicine, and medicine in rhetoric, in
early modern literature and culture.
Proposals (150 words, 1 page curriculum vitae) are invited for a panel on
the relationship, variously construed, between rhetoric and medicine in
early modern Europe (c. 1500-1700).   Topics might include, but are not
limited to:

--- forms of inference in the probable arts and sciences, especially
--- the function of rhetoric in early modern medicine, popular or learned
--- the presence of medical thought or medical semiotics in European
--- medical thought as a paradigm for intellectual history (in the manner
    of Ginzburg, Allers, Curtius, or Mandlebaum)
--- the rhetoric of healing, healing rhetoric
--- medicine and scripture, medicine and theology, _Christus medicus_
--- the role of rhetoric in the profession of medicine
--- medicine and genre (the anatomy, for example)
--- symptoms, signs, and medical semiotics
--- rhetoric and the passions

In addition to the panel, a collection of essays on rhetoric and medicine
in early modern Europe is planned.  Proposals should be sent to Stephen
Pender, English, University of Windsor, at, by
Wednesday, 25 April 2001.  Email inquiries are encouraged, as is electronic

Dr. Stephen Pender, English
University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9B 3P4