Cover image for Visualizing Household Health: Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the Régime du corps By Jennifer Borland

Visualizing Household Health

Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the Régime du corps

Jennifer Borland

Buy

$114.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09059-7

$49.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09346-8

Available as an e-book

240 pages
8" × 10"
33 color/52 b&w illustrations
2022

Visualizing Household Health

Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the Régime du corps

Jennifer Borland

“Jennifer Borland has done a great service in teaching medievalists from several different fields how to ‘read’ these sequences of historiated initials and how to interpret them as both constructions and constructors of later medieval ideas about bodies, health, and social status.”

 

  • Media
  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
  • Subjects
                                                                                                                  
In 1256, the countess of Provence, Beatrice of Savoy, enlisted her personal physician to create a health handbook to share with her daughters. Written in French and known as the Régime du corps, this health guide would become popular and influential, with nearly seventy surviving copies made over the next two hundred years and translations in at least four other languages. In Visualizing Household Health, art historian Jennifer Borland uses the Régime to show how gender and health care converged within the medieval household.

Visualizing Household Health explores the nature of the households portrayed in the Régime and how their members interacted with professionalized medicine. Borland focuses on several illustrated versions of the manuscript that contain historiated initials depicting simple scenes related to health care, such as patients’ consultations with physicians, procedures like bloodletting, and foods and beverages recommended for good health. Borland argues that these images provide important details about the nature of women’s agency in the home—and offer highly compelling evidence that women enacted multiple types of health care. Additionally, she contends, the Régime opens a window onto the history of medieval women as owners, patrons, and readers of books.

Interdisciplinary in scope, this book broadens notions of the medieval medical community and the role of women in medieval health care. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of women’s history, art history, book history, and the history of medicine.

“Jennifer Borland has done a great service in teaching medievalists from several different fields how to ‘read’ these sequences of historiated initials and how to interpret them as both constructions and constructors of later medieval ideas about bodies, health, and social status.”
Visualizing Household Health: Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the ‘Régime du corps’ is a valuable contribution to the study of medieval medicine, deluxe manuscripts, and elite domesticity. Its in-depth interpretations of some of the Régime’s historiated initials stand out as especially noteworthy.”
Visualizing Household Health includes the academic apparatus to support further study of the Régime, while also serving as a welcome and timely interpretative exploration of the illumination, reception, and context of these fascinating manuscripts.”
“A most welcome addition to the study of medieval medical imagery.”
“Borland’s beautiful book, ornamented with eighty-five illustrations and appended with three excellent tables describing the Regime manuscripts and their illustrations, will be a valuable resource for historians of medieval art and scholars of medieval medicine intent on understanding how women labored in service of their own health and that of their households.”
“Borland masterfully weaves together the methodologies of a variety of disciplines: the history of women as patrons and consumers, the history of medicine, anthropology, geography, and of course material and visual studies and art history, all under the larger umbrellas of social history and medieval studies. . . . By immersing the illuminated Régime manuscripts in this multivalent exploration, the full nature of their rich content is finally revealed.”
Visualizing Household Health interrogates the function and value of illumination paired with a secular text with both practical and theoretical knowledge. . . . Borland demonstrates the newest area of modern scholarly attention to the wayfinding devices that integrated the textual and visual communication of medieval knowledge.”
“Just as the Régime targets a wide-ranging readership, so too does Borland’s book have much to offer to different disciplines....”
“Very thoughtful in its approach and its discussion of so many interrelated contexts, Borland’s book is truly interdisciplinary and makes a major contribution to art history, gender studies, manuscript studies, history of medicine, and so many other fields.”

Jennifer Borland is Professor of Art History and Director of the Humanities Initiative at Oklahoma State University. She is a founding member of the Material Collective and managing editor of the journal Different Visions.

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgements

Introduction

1. The Visual Language of the Régime du corps

2. The Illustrated Manuscripts and Their Audiences

3. The Medical Context for the Régime du corps

4. Household Management, Status, and the Care of the Body

Conclusion

Appendix 1: Summary of Illustrated Copies

Appendix 2: Scenes Depicted in Each Illustrated Copy

Appendix 3: Known Manuscript Copies of the Régime du corps

Notes

Bibliography
Index

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction