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Open Access 1 A Sound Mind in a Healthy Body

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1 A Sound Mind in a Healthy Body

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates stories of later life ranging from Ficino's and Zerbi's health regimens to personal accounts by Petrarch, Erasmus, Cornaro, and Montaigne. These stories appear in private letters, poems, literary essays, and paradoxical monologues such as Erasmus's Praise of Folly. These writers all shared an interest in the care of the aging self and in pragmatic ways of minimizing the effects of time on human physical and cognitive capacities. Although their interest was linked to the development of certain forms of experimental medicine, Hippocrates's texts and Galen's observations on the process of aging were the bases of Western medicine for more than 1,500 years, and thus deserve our scrutiny. Galen's fifth book of De Sanitate tuenda, in particular, influenced all discourses on the preservation of health in old age, and on the prolongation of life.

Keywords: Cornaro; Erasmus; Ficino's health regimen; Galen; mind-body relationship; Montaigne; Petrarch; Praise of Folly; Zerbi's health regimen



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