This volume presents one of S. Weir Mitchell's touchstone texts of neurasthenia, commonly known as "brain drain." Neurasthenia was among the most gendered illnesses of the turn of the century that diagnosed women as suffering from "too much exertion, beyond what their bodies would normally allow." Thus, women were counseled to take to their beds with nary a bodily movement, and certainly no physical activity for months on end.
Fat and Blood was a best-seller in its time and went through multiple printings and numerous editions. It fused the cultural critique of modern society and the inversion of gender roles with the medical analysis of this strange new ailment. While it serves to enforce the most pernicious stereotypes about women and men - stereotypes that have proved to be resilient obstacles to women's advancement - Fat and Blood supports another more contemporary reading, one that engages the reader with constant feminist arguments that resound across more than a century since they were written.