In this historical tour de force, now available in B-format paperback, Roy Porter takes a critical look at representations of the body in health, disease and death in Britain from the mid-seventeenth to the twentieth century. Porter argues that great symbolic weight was attached to contrasting conceptions of the healthy and diseased body, and that such ideas were mapped onto antithetical notions of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. With these images in mind, he explores aspects of being ill alongside the practice of medicine, paying special attention to self-presentations by physicians, surgeons and quacks, and to changes in practitioners' public identities over time. Porter also examines the wider symbolic meanings of disease and doctoring and the 'body politic'. Porter's book is packed with outrageous and amusing anecdotes portraying diseased bodies and medical practitioners alike.