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The Male Body in Medicine and Literature$
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Andrew Mangham and Daniel Lea

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940520

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940520.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 01 June 2020

‘A man must make himself’

‘A man must make himself’

Hypochondria in Maria Edgeworth’s Ennui

Chapter:
(p.137) Chapter Eight ‘A man must make himself’
Source:
The Male Body in Medicine and Literature
Author(s):

Robin Runia

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786940520.003.0009

Lord Glenthorn, of Maria Edgeworth’s Ennui (1809), suffers with a debilitating apathy and indifference unless continuously stimulated by external factors. Robin Runia reads this symptomatology within the frame of late eighteenth-century definitions of hypochondriasis, which firmly associated the condition not just with the indolence of the wealthy but also with a foreign decadence. Trying to rid himself of his ennui, Glenthorn trials numerous fashionable activities of the wealthy but finds consolation only in the domestic sphere and the peaceable routines of his servants. Ennui is Edgeworth’s critique of the ‘rampant moral plague of luxury’, but, more importantly in offering a domestic remedy based on duty and the importance of home, it associates the health of the male body with the knowledge and culture of women.

Keywords:   Maria Edgeworth, Ennui, Hypochondria, Gender, Eighteenth Century Literature

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