Digesting in the long eighteenth century
in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
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The eighteenth century witnessed a discernible shift towards explaining bodily functions with scientific, in addition to theological, methods of investigation. Eighteenth-century pathological anatomy had gleaned some insights into the dead stomach. In the eighteenth century, philosophers and scientists mostly dethroned the stomach from its prime position as the 'seat of the soul' as they gradually came to agree upon consciousness and imagination as residing in the brain, not the belly. In the long eighteenth century, ideas on digestion shifted dramatically. Throughout the period, the stomach was understood in various ways; as guided by mechanical, chemical and nervous forces and as intimately connected to a plethora of body parts. The corporeal dangers of the stomach had never seemed as evident as they had become by the end of the long eighteenth century.

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