Throughout eighteenth-century Europe, epistolary consultations constitute an
important archive in which to explore the experience of any illness in the
Enlightenment. This chapter provides an analysis of the patients'
discourse, in order to show the diversity of the expressions they marshal as
they draw attention to the link between their entrails and their soul. The
patients peer into the deepest recesses of their bodies to catch sight of
their impressions and sensations, and describe them in their own words with
determined accuracy. The aerial element, in conjunction with the circulation
of the humours and the pathways of the nerves, contributes to the formation
of sensations. The aerial, or more precisely the hydropneumatic element, is
not limited to the abdomen. The experience of the sick, then, is set against
a medico-scientific landscape, which emphasises the connection between the
abdomen and the operations of the mind.