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Type: Thesis
Title: Exchanging flesh: prostitution and plastic surgery in seventeenth-century England.
Author: Cock, Emily Nelina
Issue Date: 2013
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: This thesis investigates discourses of shame, sexuality, disease, and the commoditised body in seventeenth-century England. I examine literary and non-literary sources relating to corporal interpretability and the exchange of human flesh in two areas: prostitution and plastic surgery. I consider the relationship between these exchanges and the individual’s access to social capital, and explicitly examine the role of shame in facilitating or hindering the trades. Through close readings of fictional and archival prostitution texts (especially The London Jilt), I examine representations of sexual and other bodily exchanges as fraught commodity transactions. In conjunction with this, I consider in detail the transplantation of purchased flesh allegedly involved in rhinoplasty, which also posited a shameful commodification of the body. The reconstruction of the nose was most prominently detailed by the Bolognese surgeon Gaspare Tagliacozzi in De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem (Venice: 1597), and he became synonymous with the highly controversial operation. Histories of plastic surgery currently state that after Tagliacozzi’s death in 1599, his procedure disappeared from medical knowledge. I demonstrate that this was simply not the case, and provide a thorough book history of an English translation of De curtorum chirurgia that was published in London in 1687 and 1696. In order to account for rhinoplasty’s stigmatization, I examine its association with syphilis and the shame associated with that disease, and the manner in which it was thought to enable the patient to ‘pass’ as healthy. I also trace the popular narrative around Tagliacozzi that suggested he would purchase the skin required for his graft from “the brawny part of [a] porter’s bum”, and that it would shrivel and die when its donor did. This discourse provides an as yet unexamined archive through which to understand early modern England’s relationship with the commodification of living human bodies.
Advisor: Kerr, Heather Beviss
Potter, Lucy
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2013
Keywords: prostitution; plastic surgery; syphilis; shame; Gaspane Tagliacozzi
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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