Mary Wollstonecra castigates women’s delicate and o en contingent sensibility. In the political debate in the 1790s, this image of the female body was transposed into the volatile ‘body’ of the radical movement during the French Revolution.1 In the political writings of Edmund Burke and Wollstonecra , there is a conjunction of metaphors; organic body, political body (body-politic) and diseased body. When Wollstonecra ’s publisher, Joseph Johnson, published the famous Elements of Medicine (1788)2 by a physician, John Brown (1735-1788), she must have been greatly in uenced by his account of disorders based on the study of the whole nervous system. According to Brown’s theory, or Brunonianism, the bodily frame could be deprived of its vital powers by excessive stimuli of both external and internal forces or lack thereof. Brown draws on established medical writings by William Cullen (1710-1790) and Robert Whytt (1714-1768) who said that the nerves are endued with ‘sympathetic’ feelings.3 Although Brown has been criticized for plagiarizing Cullen’s ideas,4 his ‘simplicity of … views’ and his belief in promoting the self-help system of therapy may have appealed to the radical reader at the time when the public attitude towards the principle of individualism was becoming much more welcoming. Brown regards life as ‘solely the e ect of stimulus; which produces disease in proportion to its excess or defect’.5 He believed that by managing the amount of stimuli, the physician (or even the patient) can improve health, for the environment and internal circulation shape and condition the activities of the organism.