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“A geography of names”: A genre analysis of nationality-driven names for venereal disease in seventeenth-century England

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Publication date15/07/2022
Host publicationCorpus Pragmatic Studies on the History of Medical Discourse
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Number of pages26
ISBN (electronic)9789027257741
ISBN (print)9789027211101
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NamePragmatics and Beyond New Series
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISSN (Print)0922-842X


We investigate discourses surrounding venereal disease in a wide body of seventeenth-century texts in the one-billion-word Early English Books Online (EEBO) corpus. By combining quantitative methods with close reading of texts within EEBO, we explore whether perceptions of sufferers and responses to the illness itself shifted as the century progressed. In order to uncover the kinds of written works in which references to venereal disease appear, we undertake a genre analysis with the help of genre categories added to the corpus. The analysis shows that at the beginning of the century, references to these diseases were most likely to appear within historical works, while the end of the century witnesses an increase in references to venereal disease in scientific and medical texts.