The Disease of Virgins: Green Sickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty

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From an acclaimed author in the field, this is a compelling study of the origins and history of the disease commonly seen as afflicting young unmarried girls. Understanding of the condition turned puberty and virginity into medical conditions, and Helen King stresses the continuity of this disease through history,depsite enormous shifts in medical understanding and technonologies, and drawing parallels with the modern illness of anorexia. Examining its roots in the classical tradition all the way through to its extraordinary survival into the 1920s, this study asks a number of questions about the nature of the disease itself and the relationship between illness, body images and what we should call'normal' behaviour. This is a fascinating and clear account which will prove invaluable not just to students of classical studies, but will be of interest to medical professionals also.