Reviews 249 Haskell, Yasmin, ed., Diseases of the Imagination and Imaginary Disease in the Early Modern Period (Early European Research, 2), Turnhout, Brepols, 2012; hardback; pp. xxvi, 424; 10 b/w illustrations, 1 b/w table; R.R.P. 95.00; ISBN 9782503527963. Editor Yasmin Haskell has brilliantly and coherently brought together papers that seem to me for the most part to deal with diseases of the imagination (indicated by symptoms of illness such as delusions) rather than imaginary disease (a term which appears to be applicable to what we now call hypochondria). It would have been convenient to have a clear definition of the two categories, although the book is very much worth reading anyway. The quality of the essays is remarkably high, and unusually uniformly so, with enormous learning and power of reasoning persistently in evidence, along with excellent and jargon-free English. I found it a real pleasure to read so much outstanding, interesting, and well-presented work. The book does not deal with easy material, lucid though the commentators are. What is required of the reader is a willingness to think like our forbears in order to comprehend them. Their understanding of disease was itself largely imaginative, as they
Parergon – Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
Published: Feb 14, 2012
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