The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0962. Friday, 26 September 1997.
Date: Thursday, 25 Sep 1997 11:05:46 +0000 (HELP)
Subject: Black bile and Medical History
Last week in the graduate course I'm teaching, our discussion revolved
around the issues of biology and representation in early modern
England. I explained to them the theory of the four humours and some of
its implications for conduct etc., including the point that those deemed
to be sanguine in humour were frequently bled to relieve this imbalance.
One my students then wondered that if rectifying a humour imbalance was
so crucial, where or how did one eliminate an excess of black bile
(melancholy)? What physical outlet was employed?
I've looked around, but can't find anything terribly informative. Any
medical historians out there who can shed some light?