Artisans of the body in early modern Italy

Identities, families and masculinities

By Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey

Artisans of the body in early modern Italy


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7662-6
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: December 2007
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, HISTORY / Europe / Italy, c 1500 onwards to present day, European history, History & Archaeology, Italy, History
  • Series: Gender in History


This groundbreaking study explores the role of those involved in various aspects of the care, comfort and appearance of the body in seventeenth and early eighteenth-century Italy, bringing to light the strong cultural affinities and social ties between barber-surgeons and the apparently distant trades of jeweller, tailor, wigmaker and upholsterer. Drawing on contemporary understandings of the body, the author shows that shared concerns about health and well-being permeated the professional cultures of these medical and non-medical occupations. At the same time the detailed analysis of the life-course, career patterns and family experience of 'artisans of the body' offers unprecedented insight into the world of the urban middling sorts. The book will represent essential reading for scholars and students of gender, family and urban history in the early modern age, and will equally appeal to historians of the body and of the medical occupations.


Sandra Cavallo is Professor in Early Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London


List of plates
List of captions
List of figures
List of tables
List of abbreviations
1. The view of the body of an ordinary surgeon
2. Health, beauty and hygiene: the broad domain of a barber-surgeon's duties
3. Barber-surgeons and artisans of the body
4. The place in society of artisans of the body
5. Social and kinship ties
6. Age, working relationships and the marketplace
7. Women in the body crafts
8. The weak father
9. Respectable men
10. The good surgeon

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