By Vladimir Janković (auth.)
This booklet explores the social origins of the Western preoccupation with overall healthiness and environmental dangers. It seems on the upward thrust of the dichotomy among the weak 'in' and the threatening 'out' via interpreting the pathologies linked to climate, family house, air flow, garments, and trip in Britain on the flip of the nineteenth century.
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In addition to the random risks of contagion or miasmatic infection, disease was a perpetual possibility, to which a methodical regimen was the only appropriate remedy. Surrendering jurisdiction over one’s health to a force outside one’s control in this way might have been as disconcerting as having already fallen ill, but it was no worse than surrendering one’s reputation to gossip and so ceding control over privacy and peace of mind. Both social and medical exposure compromised valuable assets—privacy and health.
The result was a weak, sickly, and obese body that nurtured a tropical psyche, at once passionate and amorous, vindictive, and timid. 19 On this subject, especially well-articulated were the views of Jonas Hanway (1712–1786), whose activities from around the 1750s bore the mark of an age that was becoming receptive to conceiving the individual’s state of health as determined—to a certain extent at least—by an environmental imprint of the collective. Born in Portsmouth in 1712, Hanway spent twelve years as a merchant at the English Factory in Lisbon and more than five years in Saint Petersburg.
Born in Portsmouth in 1712, Hanway spent twelve years as a merchant at the English Factory in Lisbon and more than five years in Saint Petersburg. On his return to London in 1750, he continued a business venture as a Russia Company employee, but gradually devoted himself to supporting associated philanthropies. He was on board of governors and subscription committees for the rest of his life, writing books and pamphlets and working to improve the parish care of pauper infants, even successfully lobbying for parliamentary reforms in this matter.
Confronting the Climate: British Airs and the Making of Environmental Medicine by Vladimir Janković (auth.)