Background. Just like life expectancy in developed countries has increased significantly over the past two centuries, so the notion of old age has had to undergo changes not only as regards its chronological definition but especially in the description of what it entails and the expectations that surround it. Early modern medicine in England has been investigated by different scholars in a plethora of studies; in particular, eighteenth-century medicine in England has been thoroughly researched, among others, by Porter (1985/2002, 1992), Bynum (1990) and Taavitsainen (2014). However, as Porter (1985/2002: 285) underlines, “[t]he real watersheds are generally seen as occurring before or after the eighteenth century, with for example the Scientific Revolution, or the emergence of the family doctor in the early nineteenth century, or the coming of medical registration in 1858.” It is precisely this latter period, the onset of the late modern era spanning the beginning to the mid-nineteenth century, that is of interest to the present investigation. Aims. The aim of this paper is to study how old age was defined and described in British dissemination tools, i.e. popular texts from specialist to layperson, directed at advising people on medical practices aimed at aging well, or at curing specific ailments in old age. What was their understanding of ‘good’ ageing? What conditions were associated with it and, in general, what was the discursive rendition of this stage of life? Sources. For this purpose, the UK Medical Heritage collection of the Wellcome Library has been searched for the key term “OLD AGE”. The results have then been screened, keeping self-help texts published in England, which their authors openly state to be addressed to lay readers. Methods. The texts considered will be analysed linguistically in relation to the period’s developments in the English language (Görlach 1999, Kytö, Rydén & Smitterberg 2006), in medical English texts (Taavitsainen 2014, Porter 1992), and in the history and perception of society and medicine (Lawrence 1994, Folts et al. 1995, Lane 2001, Waddington 2011, Worboys 2011), with specific reference to the notion of ‘old age’. A discourse-based interpretation will also be proposed, moving from the Foucaultian “medical gaze” (Foucault 1963/2003), through contemporary views of language in specialised settings (Gotti 2005/2011, Bhatia 2017) and Critical Discourse Studies (Wodak & Meyer 20011; Flowerdew & Richardson 2018). Primary sources Carlisle, Anthony 1817. An essay on the disorders of old age, and on the means for prolonging human life. London: Longman. Forster, Thomas 1829. Medicina simplex, or, Practical rules for the preservation of health : printed at the request of some friends, for popular use. Chelmsford: Meggy and Chalk. Anonymous 1832. Twenty minutes' advice on diet, regimen, and other matters connected with health. With an essay on indigestion, and rules, by the observance of which, persons may live to a good old age, without consulting any medical man. A non-medical treatise. London: W. Kidd. Black, James 1840. A manual on the bowels and the treatment of their principal disorders from infancy to old age. London: Longman. Secondary sources Bhatia, Vijay K. 2017. Critical Genre Analysis: Investigating interdiscursive performance in professional practice. London and New York: Routledge. Bynum, William F. 1990. Science and the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Flowerdew, John and John E. Richardson (eds) 2018. The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies. London and New York: Routledge. Foucault, Michel 1963/2003. The birth of the clinic. An archaeology of medical perception. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Görlach, Manfred 1999. English in Nineteenth-Century England: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gotti, Maurizio 2005/2011. Investigating Specialized Discourse. Bern: Peter Lang. Kytö, Merja, Rydén, Mats and Erik Smitterberg 2006. Nineteenth-Century English: Stability and Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lane, Joan 2001. A social history of medicine. Health, healing and disease in England, 1750-1950. London and New York, Routledge. Lawrence, Christopher 1994. Medicine in the Making of Modern Britain, 1700-1920. London: Routledge. Porter, Roy (ed.) 1992. The Popularization of Medicine 1650-1850. London: Routledge. Porter, Roy 1985/2002. Laymen, doctors and medical knowledge in the eighteenth century: The evidence of the Gentleman's Magazine. In Porter, Roy (ed.) Patients and Practitioners: Lay Perceptions of Medicine in Pre-industrial Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 283-314. Taavitsainen, Irma et al. 2014. “Late Modern English Medical Texts 1700-1800”: A corpus for analyzing eighteenth-century medical English. ICAME Journal, 38, pp. 137-153. Waddington, Keir. 2011. An Introduction to the Social History of Medicine. Europe since 1500. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan. Wodak, Ruth and Michael Meyer (eds.) 2001. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage. Worboys, Michael 2011. Practice and the Science of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century, in Isis. A Journal of the History of Science Society, 102, pp. 109-115.
How old is old? : The discourse of ‘good’ ageing in 19th century popular medical sources / K. Grego. ((Intervento presentato al 2. convegno International Conference on Historical Medical Discourse (CHIMED-2) tenutosi a Helsinki nel 2019.
|Titolo:||How old is old? : The discourse of ‘good’ ageing in 19th century popular medical sources|
|Data di pubblicazione:||10-giu-2019|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese|
|Citazione:||How old is old? : The discourse of ‘good’ ageing in 19th century popular medical sources / K. Grego. ((Intervento presentato al 2. convegno International Conference on Historical Medical Discourse (CHIMED-2) tenutosi a Helsinki nel 2019.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|