Print and a Culture of Prevention

Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey

in Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9780199678136
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191757686 | DOI:
Print and a Culture of Prevention

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This chapter explores the role of print in establishing a widespread culture of preventive health care. The writing, editing, and translating of printed vernacular regimens are contextualized in an increasingly literate society characterized by extensive book production and sophisticated distribution networks. The physicality of the book, including typographical strategies targeting a wider readership, and the long life of these texts, demonstrated by signatures and marginalia, are discussed. Authorship and the role of publishing in medical careers are noted. The chapter then focuses on the dissemination of preventive health advice through other genres: books of secrets, household management texts, and conduct manuals. Shifts in the social configuration in which these genres appeared are also analysed: the flourishing of court life and the changing ideals and identities of the urban nobility led to the codification of behaviours and expressions of virtue which included prioritizing one's health and emphasizing bodily decorum and home cleanliness.

Keywords: print culture; regimens; authorship; readership; household management; conduct literature

Chapter.  15638 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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