• Madame Caplin's Corsetry: A New Perspective on Medical Transcendentalism

    Megan Eve Kilvington (see profile)
    Medicine, History
    Item Type:
    Dress and the Body, Dress History, transcendentalism, Medical history, Medical humanities
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    This study examines Medical Transcendentalism, a concept which medical research has exclusively attached to American Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller. Medical Transcendentalism demonstrates a new dimension to the study of American Transcendentalism within medical research. This includes adapting the hostile relationship between Transcendentalism and the 19th century empirical physician through promoting the role of the spirit and providing a unique, yet successful method of medical cure. Medical Transcendentalism is limited in name and in theory at present. It focuses on Fuller’s fixed medical issues rather than actual transcendence. It is not currently discussed in medical research whether Fuller’s goal of transcending physical pain was achieved. Additionally American Transcendentalism within the medical research is limited to a focus on Fuller and other American figures. There is little consideration of how the global movement inspired other medical figures. This study seeks to bridge these gaps and extend the study of Medical Transcendentalism to “Madame” Roxey Ann Caplin a stay-maker, writer and reformer based in London. Caplin countered medical concerns of female anatomy which were associated with the corset. This research consists of a close examination of Caplin’s unexplored literature, demonstrating its transcendental influences through language, specific quotes and written methods of reform. It will be concluded that Caplin was inspired by American Transcendentalism and succeeded in transcending medical concerns. Caplin’s method of reform had a significant impact in developing the views of the 19th century empirical physician by combining the often rejected transcendental features with the medical knowledge and beliefs of “modern” science. Ultimately Madame Caplin’s literature and manual work will provide a captivating insight into American Transcendentalism which has not yet been considered.
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
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