'It puts good reason into brains': popular understandings of the effects of alcohol in seventeenth-century England

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Abstract

This article explores the ways that seventeenth-century contemporaries understood the effects alcohol had upon mind and body. It starts with a discussion of broader developments in the history of drinking in the early
modern period, and explains how this article relates to- and seeks to qualify-some of these trends. It then moves on to consider a range of sources, but in particular the broadside ballad, in examining widely-held ideas in
early modern England about the narcotic qualities of alcohol, about its impact on mental faculties, and about its effects upon the body. It also asks whether contemporaries thought that ‘moderation’ was the key to
extracting positive outcomes from the consumption of alcohol, and whether they believed that alcohol served to give free rein to ‘inner demons’, or instead had the power to make a person act ‘out of character’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages14
JournalBrewery History
Issue number150
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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