Citation

Performing Contract, Performing Cure: Early Modern Physic and All's Well That Ends Well

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Abstract:

The art of physic is crucial to the figure of Helena in All's Well That Ends Well, a play that probes performances of power, medical authority, and the possibilities of cure. Helena's designation as "empiric" invokes debates in the early modern period over the status of experiential knowledge in relation to theoretical knowledge. Her art requires "credit," and Helena negotiates this problem by employing the structural resources of a contract to enable her practice as an empiric and secure payment in the form of marriage. The play's juxtaposition of medical and marital contracts suggests the potential for contractual agency even as it dramatizes the difficulty of making this agency commensurate with other obligations and authorities. Building on recent work that expands attention to medical practitioners, practices, and forms of knowledge, this paper considers how the female practitioner and her knowledge operate within and complicate medical, economic, legal, and domestic discourses.
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Association:
Name: RSA Annual Meeting
URL:
http://www.rsa.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481971_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Williams, Katherine. "Performing Contract, Performing Cure: Early Modern Physic and All's Well That Ends Well" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481971_index.html>

APA Citation:

Williams, K. "Performing Contract, Performing Cure: Early Modern Physic and All's Well That Ends Well" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481971_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The art of physic is crucial to the figure of Helena in All's Well That Ends Well, a play that probes performances of power, medical authority, and the possibilities of cure. Helena's designation as "empiric" invokes debates in the early modern period over the status of experiential knowledge in relation to theoretical knowledge. Her art requires "credit," and Helena negotiates this problem by employing the structural resources of a contract to enable her practice as an empiric and secure payment in the form of marriage. The play's juxtaposition of medical and marital contracts suggests the potential for contractual agency even as it dramatizes the difficulty of making this agency commensurate with other obligations and authorities. Building on recent work that expands attention to medical practitioners, practices, and forms of knowledge, this paper considers how the female practitioner and her knowledge operate within and complicate medical, economic, legal, and domestic discourses.


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