The History of Pain (Paperback)
  • The History of Pain (Paperback)

The History of Pain (Paperback)

(author), (translator), (translator), (translator)
Paperback Published: 12/01/1998
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Feared by most, sought out by others, pain may manifest itself as a benevolent messenger warning of imminent danger or a repellent nemesis that undermines and incapacitates us. Throughout the ages pain has intrigued those who focus on the soul and the sacred in equal measure to those who specialize in the body and medicine.

In The History of Pain, Roselyne Rey draws on multidisciplinary sources to explore this universally shared experience. From classical antiquity to the twentieth century, she contrasts the different cultural perceptions of pain in each period, as well as the medical theories advanced to explain its mechanisms, and the various therapeutic remedies formulated to relieve those suffering from it.

This broad historical perspective, both accurate and remarkably erudite, highlights the extraordinary transformation in humanity's relationship to pain, chronicles the considerable progress made in its understanding and treatment, and explores the shadowy areas of mystery which remain to this day.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674399686
Weight: 472 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


An intriguing analysis of the evolving influences of society and culture on pain thresholds throughout the ages. - New Scientist

This is an interesting and important study. The translation has been well done. - Anthony Campbell, Journal of Consciousness Studies [UK]

We know quite a bit about the development of certain pain relievers and have often heard the story of anaesthesia...but we know much less of the broader cultural history of pain. This historical gap is addressed by this splendid book...Dr. Rey has used pain as a key medical, biological, cultural and philosophical theme; she has fashioned a history of medicine around the concept of pain...She has undertaken a large task and carried it out with great success. To capture as much of our changing views of such a large topic as she has managed to do in a 350-page book is a considerable feat. - Gert H. Brieger, Nature Medicine

Roselyne Rey presents a detailed history of the medical treatment of pain from Antiquity to the 1950s. In brief sections on Egyptian, Greek, and Roman medical practice, on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, on the 'Classical Age' and the Enlightenment, the author runs through some 3,000 years of medical history, demonstrating the very ambiguous and frequently ambivalent attitude towards suffering held by medical parctitioners. - Tim Hitchcock, Social History of Medicine

In this erudite and broadly conceived work, Rey discusses the social construction of pain in Western history from antiquity to modern times. - Roy Porter, Professor of the History of Medicine, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine

In this erudite and broadly conceived work, Rey discusses the social construction of pain in Western history from antiquity to modern times. - Choice

An elegant treatment of the history of pain...readable and fascinating... I know of nothing comparable. - John C. Liebeskind, Founding President, International Pain Foundation, and Past President, American Pain Society

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