Sponsored by the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine
Supported by the Wellcome Trust

‘Madness and Passions in Early Modern Spain’
Dr Elena Carrera (Queen Mary, University of London) Wednesday 4th May 2011 5.30pm (Refreshments served from 5pm)
Venue: Bedson Teaching Centre, Room 1.46, Newcastle University

Juana the Mad (1479-1555)

This paper discusses early modern madness in connection with four sufferers whose main symptoms included sadness, fear or anger: the heiress to the Spanish Crowns Juana ‘the mad’ in 1503-04, two young anonymous patients of a Spanish medical author in the mid-sixteenth century, and a 15-year-old Portuguese woman who was examined by the Spanish Inquisition’s physicians during her imprisonment in 1663-64. It looks at these cases within the wider context of authoritative medical and moral writings, which might help understand sixteenth-century notions of the mind and of the relationship between the imagination, the spirits, and the passions. It explains why, among the diverse treatments recommended for these sufferers, the extant reports by physicians stress the importance of diet and suggest using contrary passions, such as joy for the sad and fear for the angry. Elena Carrera (DPhil Oxon) is Senior Lecturer in the Spanish Golden Age at Queen Mary, University of London, and a co-founder of the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions.


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