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Was Henry Vlll's first wife anorexic? Catherine of Aragon's secret problem

Here's your spot to post and discuss history-related news items.
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Post by boswellbaxter » Thu November 11th, 2010, 2:27 pm


Whew. Anyway, the point being that anorexia as diagnosed in the US is a specific disorder that means something different in this cultural context than even in another, present-day country (like China, Indonesia). To extrapolate anorexia as we understand to a time hundreds of years in the past, to my mind, is an even more profound error.[/quote]

I don't believe that the author actually makes that error. He never claims that Catherine was motivated by a desire to become thin, nor does he claim that Catherine suffered from anorexia in the exact form as we know it. He simply suggests that Catherine suffered from some sort of eating disorder, which was commented on by contemporaries, and that her symptoms were "reminiscent of the lives of modern sufferers" of anorexia.
Susan Higginbotham
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Post by Michy » Fri December 3rd, 2010, 9:40 pm

In a search for info in Wikipedia related to a current GI problem I'm having, I ran across this and thought it would make an appropriate postscript to this thread:

The term "anorexia" refers to any loss of appetite, whatever the cause.

"Anorexia nervosa" is the more modern phenomenon of an eating disorder connected to distorted body image.

"Anorexia mirabilis" is a condition referring to self-starving among women in the Middle Ages related to piety.

So, given these definitions, Catherine of Aragon could most definitely have suffered from "anorexia." :)

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Post by LoveHistory » Sat December 4th, 2010, 12:50 am

*unresonably defensive* Well yeah, if you believe Wikipedia. ;)

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Post by SarahWoodbury » Sat December 4th, 2010, 2:38 am

Wikipedia is actually quite good a significant percentage of the time. It's when you are looking for something specific, often obscure, or if there is only one dubious source, that you run into problems. In that case, the information ends up on Wikipedia and then gets cut and pasted to twelve other web sites as if it's fact.

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