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date: 16 August 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the ways in which experiences of illness are conveyed in early modern English writing through the examples of three texts of autobiography: Isaac Casaubon’s Ephemerides, Lady Anne Clifford’s diaries, and Elizabeth Freke’s memoirs, the Remembrances. Drawing comparisons between these texts also emphasizes the challenges of seeing writing on sickness during this period as a cohesive category. While patient narratives have become widespread in recent decades and have even evolved into recognizable subgenres, early modern personal texts on illness cannot all be approached in the same way, and their records can be limited and fragmentary. A devotional impetus can be found in many diaries, but a memoir such as Freke’s also reveals the practicalities of illness and pain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the financial burden that treatment could entail.

Keywords: sickness, pain, illness, Isaac Casaubon, Anne Clifford, Elizabeth Freke, autobiography, diaries, memoirs

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