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Through the Lens of Syncopated Knowledge: When Physicians and Poets Scrutinise Cardiac Disorder
In this paper I briefly visit three cardiac pathologies: syncope, as defined by Aretaeus of Cappadoccia, cardiaca passio (heart disease), as discussed by Caelius Aurelianus, and mal d’amor (lovesickness), as presented in the medieval “Roman d’Eneas”. Using the theoretical perspective drawn by recent studies in situated cognition, I argue that these context-specific interpretations attest different modes of tackling a resilient, unruly, problematic, and the difficulty of pinning down the pathological manifestations in a definitive formula, or concept.
Keywords: cardiac pathology, situated cognition, heart, syncope, cardiaca passio, lovesickness, anatomy, narrative, history of medicine, emotion, literature.