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Andrew W. Perez
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 203-228; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0009

Abstract:
In 2006, Laura Otis provided the first English translation of five short stories written by the Spanish artist, neuroscientist, and histologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal. These stories, originally published in 1905 by Cajal under the pseudonym "Dr. Bacteria," are called "Cuentos de vacaciones: narraciones seudocientíficas" or "Vacation Stories: Pseudoscientific Tales." In 1973, a version of Cajal's manuscript "La vida en el año 6000" (Life in the year 6000) was revealed. It had remained in manuscript form since the mid-1880s and appears to be a draft of one of Cajal's unpublished "Cuentos de vacaciones." The present work is a translation of this manuscript, which is archived in the Cajal Institute in Madrid. It details the protagonist's observations, especially regarding advances in science and medicine, when he suddenly awakes in the year 6000 AD.
Arthur W. Frank, ( Bio)
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 229-235; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0010

Abstract:
Each of these two extraordinary books has illness or disability as its primary focus, yet to call either one an illness narrative would reduce its accomplishment. Each book hinges on the author's ability to evoke suffering, but the medical aspects of this suffering—specifically interactions with health care institutions and workers—are background to each book's real interest. "Crying, and screaming, and raging against pain are signs of language undone," writes Christina Crosby (31). Each of these books attempts to recreate a viable language after language has been undone, and thus to recreate a viable self where selfhood was undone. Crosby writes that "living in extremis can clarify what is often obscure, in this case the fragility of our beautiful bodies and the dependencies of all human beings" (10). Alexandra Butler could, on my reading of her book, have written the same thing. Crosby is explicit that there are no "lessons learned" from trauma and disability (116, 189), but there can be clarity gained in reconstructed language. Perhaps that is always the goal of life writing, and these books seem better understood as life writing that happens to focus on illness and disability, rather than illness or disability narratives—a subtle but significant shift.
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 236-237; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0011

Alexis Soloski
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 167-182; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0007

Abstract:
Though written amid an atmosphere of unprecedented medical advance in both diagnosis and therapeutics, Karel Čapek's The White Plague takes a starkly critical stance against overconfidence in medical science and its dubious ethical orbit. This article explores Čapek's censure of those who would privilege scientific interest in disease over the holistic plight of the sufferer. Provocatively, Čapek achieves this not only via the play's content, but also—prefiguring aspects of contemporary live art practice by several decades—by placing audience members in worrying proximity to abject ill bodies. Čapek proposes a sort of theatrical homeopathy, suggesting that limited exposure to the threat of disease might spur spectators toward empathy for those who suffer and promote a healthier, more compassionate society.
Michael Jarvis
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 183-202; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0008

Abstract:
In Naked Lunch, the institutions and practices of science and medicine, specifically with regard to psychiatry/psychology, are symptoms of a bureaucratic system of control that shapes, constructs, defines, and makes procrustean alterations to both the mind and body of human subjects. Using sickness and junk (or heroin) as convenient metaphors for both a Cold War binary mentality and the mandatory consumption of twentieth-century capitalism, Burroughs presents modern man as fundamentally alienated from any sense of a personal self. Through policing the health of citizens, the doctors are some of the novel's most overt "Senders," or agents of capital-C Control, commodifying and exploiting the individual's humanity (mind and body) as a raw material in the generation of a knowledge that functions only in the legitimation and reinforcement of itself as authoritative.
Deanna Gross Scherger
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 98-122; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0004

Abstract:
This article examines atavism as a theory of racial science in the nineteenth-century United States that illuminates how the developing medical profession reinforced racial, class, and gender hierarchies to gain cultural authority. I use John S. Partridge's "The Pineal Eye," a little-known short story published in San Francisco's The Wave in 1894, as a case study that reveals how atavism was conceived as pathology within the purview of medical study. Partridge intertwines established atavistic discourse that asserted the Anglo-Saxon female body as paradoxically modern in terms of racial identity and primitive in terms of sex with scientific experimentation and male medical authority, resulting in evolutionary regression. Partridge portrays atavism as a lens with which to challenge medicine that relied on experimentation and scientific discovery rather than recuperative treatment. I argue that these connections between atavistic and medical discourse blur the boundaries between science and fiction during the period.
Nicholas E. Miller
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 144-166; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0006

Abstract:
With an increased focus on the intersection of literature and medicine, contagion has become something of a scholarly buzzword in early American studies: it serves metaphorically to demarcate the postcolonial other, demonstrates the transmissibility of revolutionary rhetoric, highlights the instability of republican government, and embodies fears of racial mixture. In this essay, I shift the emphasis from a discourse of contagion (often associated with a fear of the foreign) to a discourse of immunity (a fear associated with foreign immunities) in order to demonstrate a more affirmative biopolitics in Charles Brockden Brown's 1790s outbreak narratives. This affirmative biopolitics can emerge only after deconstructing the intersection of biology and politics in the so-called "age of democratic revolutions."
Heather Chacón
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 123-143; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0005

Abstract:
The economic transactions and litigation necessary for slavery to function, coupled with the South's honor culture, meant skepticism and posturing frequently attended the buying and selling of enslaved people. This atmosphere provided opportunities for enslaved individuals familiar with the symbiotic ways their health and value intertwined to manipulate owners by feigning illness or adopting behaviors contrary to those of a "sound and sane" captive under Louisiana's redhibitory (slave warranty) law. Such actions offered a chance at preserving that which slavery denied its victims: proximity to family, a reduced chance of being sold, and an opportunity to exert agency within a strictly oppressive system. In dramatizing these paradoxes, George Washington Cable's The Grandissimes illustrates the vile hollowness of owners' paternalistic attitudes towards the enslaved, acknowledges the subjectivity and will of enslaved individuals, and castigates the return of slavery-like conditions in the form of the convict lease system.
Martina Zimmermann
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 71-97; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0003

Abstract:
This essay gives an overview of the metaphors that patients in comparison to caregivers employ to conceptualize their experience with the chronic degenerative, cognitive, and incurable aspects of Alzheimer's disease. It explores how the images (such as the journey, darkness, the death sentence, and torture) relate to the narration of cognitive decline and memory loss, and how these personal accounts negotiate with the culturally dominant dementia narrative that centers on the patient's passivity and dependence and is, usually, found in caregiver stories. This analysis, based on English, French, and German language texts, argues that the metaphors of this mainstream dementia narrative are, first, grounded in medico-scientific dementia discourse and, second, encapsulated in "Alzheimer's disease" as metaphor itself.
Rosanna Nunan
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 46-70; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0002

Abstract:
In The Woodlanders, Hardy examines the intersections between adolescence as scientific fact and adolescence as utilitarian economic construction. Hardy posits that the emergence of adolescence as a social category provides an opportunity for further, excessive control of young women in a patriarchal society when science is taken at its word, but, paradoxically, also opens up a space for a new kind of freedom and rebellion when the adolescent condition of nineteenth-century scientific theorists is seized for the very subversive qualities which the Victorians oppose.
Heather Meek
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 27-45; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0001

Abstract:
This paper examines Frances Burney's 1812 mastectomy letter alongside contemporaneous medical treatises on the subject of breast cancer. Burney's letter offers a critique of a medical community that misconstrues her experience and can be viewed as pathography, or disability memoir. Examining the letter and the treatises in this way illuminates the brutality of some medical practices and the frequent incongruity between the patients' and the physicians' understandings of pain. However, the letter and the treatises also share much in common; both at times emphasize the patient's words and experiences, and both reveal the impressive and contradictory range of ideas surrounding breast cancer in the long eighteenth century. The paper ends by suggesting that the complex rapport between the letter and the treatises holds particular interest for the field of disability studies in its confrontations with socio-medical tendencies to normalize the body and downplay the harsh realities of breast cancer.
Stella Bolaki
Published: 1 January 2017
Literature and Medicine, Volume 35, pp 1-26; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2017.0000

Abstract:
This essay considers Clare Best's poetic sequence Self-portrait without Breasts (2011) and her collaboration with photographer Laura Stevens, which explore preventive surgery and questions of genetics/hereditary breast cancer. In an era when risk and cosmetic reconstruction guide treatment and the development of new breast cancer subjects, Best reclaims the "flat simple scarred chest with no extras." I situate her poems in the context of statistics and the neoliberal postfeminist subject as well as in a poetic tradition about the post-mastectomy body as landscape. Reading the poetic sequence alongside photographs by Best and Stevens, I show how the liminal site of the scar and the flat body can be approached as generative spaces. In its dialogue with earlier representations of the amputated breast, this photo-poetic narrative contributes to the education of health professionals and demonstrates the importance of expanding discourses about women's health and feminist politics in the twenty-first century.
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 509-511; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0024

Emma Seaber
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 484-508; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0023

Abstract:
This article explores the relationship between eating disorders and reading behaviors, arguing that there is a meaningful difference in a minority of readers' approach to and understanding of anorexia life-writing, and of literary texts more broadly. To illuminate this distinction, this article begins by considering the reported deleterious influence of Marya Hornbacher’s anorexia memoir, Wasted, elaborating the ways Hornbacher offers a positive presentation of anorexia nervosa that may, intentionally or not, induce certain readers to “try it” themselves. This is followed by an exploration of how Hornbacher’s own reading praxis is implicated in a discursive feedback loop around anorexia narratives. It concludes with a discussion of disordered reading attitudes in relation to the emergence of the “pro-anorexia” phenomenon.
, Eva Eglāja-Kristsone
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 468-483; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0022

Abstract:
During the nineteenth century, Latvian society experienced significant social and cultural changes due to a transition from agrarian to modern society and the emergence of a Latvian national culture. Reading, previously a mostly religious and practical activity, took new forms among the Latvian middle class and steadily began to be depicted as a dangerous pastime. In this essay, we have explored the connection between social change and pathological reading by turning attention to the rhetoric of the dangerous reading discourse, representations of effects of reading in the press, and the condemnation of female reading.
Norman Aselmeyer
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 440-467; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0021

Abstract:
Looking at nineteenth-century Germany, this article investigates the origin of the idea that fiction causes disease, among both the bourgeoisie and the working class. I argue that the socially constructed notions of reading addiction, which were consistent with medical concepts at that time, touched the bourgeois virtues of industriousness and health. However, little has been written about the transfer of the bourgeois attitudes towards reading to the German working class. The study of workers’ autobiographies shows that social circumstances and the emulation of bourgeois values and attitudes resulted in appropriating the concept of lazy readers in the working class. The paper follows the paths from the early nineteenth century accusation of readers to the working class’s perception of novels causing disease around 1900.
Jessica Roberts
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 418-439; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0020

Abstract:
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the revolution in France served as a catalyst for heavily allegorical political rhetoric, and the idea that radical politics were contagious became commonplace in conservative writing and oratory. This political contagion is described by Blackwood’s as raging through the ranks of the rural poor as late as 1830. Confronted by this threat, Blackwood’s promoted itself alternatively as a stimulant or as a cure for the metaphorical poison or infection that radical publications were seen to be spreading amongst the poor. Blackwood’s also strove to maintain the political health of its readership by identifying healthy literature for its readers and the lower order. This article analyzes Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine’s application of the vocabulary of disease and contagion to radical politics and publications, and considers questions of taste, class, and Britishness in discussions of healthy reading habits.
Victoire Feuillebois
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 370-388; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0018

Abstract:
“Of unknown cause”— in the conclusion of the eponymous tale written by Théophile Gautier in 1833, it is not clear what exactly the protagonist Onuphrius dies of after his infatuation with E. T. A. Hoffmann drove him mad. Thus, the reference to the possibility of “Hoffmania” is both highly medicalized, as Hoffmann appears as a case study of the sick author, while all its causes and mechanisms are left unexplored. With this suppression of the etiology of pathological reading, Gautier separates himself from both the tradition of literary discourses on pathological reading and from the new etiology of mental disorders. This allows him to expound the premises of his theory of “art for art’s sake,” as it echoes the paradox this theory is based upon, which contends that art is free and independent, yet its effects are deeply felt on the subject’s body, in a way that must remain unclear.
Michelle Faubert
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 389-417; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0019

Abstract:
The fear that suicidality could spread through textual contagion—that textually represented suicide could enter the reader’s mind and cause self-destruction—took hold long before Émile Durkheim theorized it in the Victorian period. This article argues that the fear of suicidal contagion and the horror of vaccination, both of which raged in Britain in the long eighteenth century, were linked to ideas about sympathy and the importation of the Other into the Self. With reference to the psychoanalytic notions of extimité and étrangerété; the eighteenth-century medical theories of William Rowley and Edward Jenner; the philosophy of “sympathy,” as adumbrated in the work of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume and Edmund Burke; and two key novels of sensibility (Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther), this article examines the root of a belief that exists even today: that, in a suicidal process, the invading Other could become the Self and, Trojan horse-style, destroy it from the inside.
Monika Class
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 341-369; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0017

Abstract:
The article introduces “the visceral novel reader” as a diachronic, context-sensitive mode of novelistic reception, in which fact and fiction overlap cognitively: the mental rehearsal of the activity of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching while reading novels and, vice versa, the mental rehearsal of novels in the act of perceiving the real world. Located at the intersection of literature, medicine and science, “the visceral novel reader” enhances our understanding of the role that novels played in the dialectic construction of erudition in English. In Georgian Britain, reading practices became a testing ground for the professionalization of physicians, natural philosophers, and men of letters. While it was in the professionals’ common interest to implement protocols that taught readers to separate body from mind, and fact from fiction, novels came to stand for “debased” (visceral) reading. Novels inverted these notions by means of medicalization (regimentation, somatization, and individuation) and contributed to the professional stratification of medicine and literature.
Darren N. Wagner
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 320-340; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0016

Abstract:
In eighteenth-century Britain, reading lewd books was understood to exacerbate gonorrhea. That pathology corresponded to a specific physiological model, which historians describe as the leaky male body. This article demonstrates how the connection between reading and gonorrhea correlated to three phenomena: 1) the neuro-sexual economy of bodily fluids; 2) the effects of reading on the sensible mind and body; and 3) the crossover of erotic and medical literatures. Aware of the physiological power of imagination, authors intentionally wrote to elicit strong physiological and sexual responses in readers. Concerns about the pathological and moral consequences of reading provocative material similarly informed criticisms of both the outright pornographic and the ostensibly medical. Partly in response to such criticisms, medical authors developed a more careful, decorous, and objective tone for writing about sexual topics. Ultimately, the culture of sensibility receded, as did anxieties about involuntary leaks of bodily fluids caused by reading.
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 299-319; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0015

Abstract:
This essay examines three key texts by William Buchan, Isaac D’Israeli, and Richard Robert Madden, which demonstrate the emergence of the newly conceived idea of literary genius in the Romantic period. It considers the role of a new genre, the “medical biography,” in the development of this phenomenon. While the mental precariousness of the Romantic genius has been much commented upon, this essay concentrates instead on the bodily or physical aspects of genius, which is itself figured as a disease. The study and writing involved in publication are viewed as stimulants that can be addictive, ruining the health and wellbeing of authors and even leading to their early deaths.
Ashleigh Blackwood
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 278-298; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0014

Abstract:
Today the idea of reading for health is perhaps most commonly associated with the term bibliotherapy. This seemingly new practice might be considered a significant shift of public and professional medical attitudes when compared with historical interpretations of the impact of reading on individuals’ health. Much historiography concerning the reception of popular literature in eighteenth-century print culture has focused on the belief that readers of fiction, most often women, were at risk of corrupting their own minds and bodies through their reading choices. Yet, although popular, this view was not exclusively subscribed to by either medical practitioners or the wider public. This article reveals perspectives that warned against and celebrated the effects of reading on human health during the eighteenth century. Unlike what we see from much contemporary scholarship there is, in fact, a range of evidence which demonstrates that eighteenth-century medical practitioners were already engaging with the concept of reading as a therapeutic activity.
James Kennaway
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 252-277; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0013

Abstract:
This article will analyze the complex relationship between two separate traditions of anxiety about the medical impact of reading. On the one hand there was the older concept of the diseases of the learned (Gelehrtenkrankheiten), associated with crabbed, often impecunious academics. This is a tradition that went back centuries and drew on the six non-naturals of Galenic medicine. On the other hand there was fear that the sentimental novel-reading habits of the leisured elite were overstimulating their nerves, a model that was based primarily on the newer medicine of stimulation associated with physicians such as Cullen, Whytt, Tissot, and Brown. This article will examine how these two models of pathological reading came together during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and what they show about the role of the imagination, luxury, gender, and sexuality.
James Kennaway, Anita O’Connell
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 242-251; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0012

Jenell Johnson
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 7-24; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0010

Abstract:
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Bioethics as a Way of Life: The Radical Bioethos of Van Rensselaer Potter Jenell Johnson (bio) The argument which is made by a man’s life is of more weight than that which is furnished by words. —Isocrates, “Antidosis” In recent years, bioethics has become the subject of intense criticism. According to Carl Elliott, “many bioethicists are no longer clearly scholars or clinicians, but a strange hybrid of policymaker, pundit, and bureaucrat, floating on the borders of the government, the business world, and the advice industry. Unmoored from a tradition, unanswerable to a professional code, in the university but not quite of it, bioethics is fast becoming another cog in the complex machinery of business, entertainment, and politics that controls the shape and direction of American life.”1 Elliott’s critique charges that the very character of bioethics has been corrupted by its proximity to money, power, and politics. How can bioethicists speak with credibility if they are funded by corporations that have committed some of the most egregious ethical violations in recent history?2 How can we trust bioethical deliberation that emerges not from the clinic or the university, but from a political platform? Although Elliott has been the loudest buzzing gadfly on this point, he is not alone.3 John Evans and Jonathan Moreno, for example, have also argued that bioethics is in a moment of crisis.4 While these critics are right to be concerned, in this essay I suggest that the way forward is not to retrench to the academy and clinic in search of an imaginary space immune from the economic and political influences Elliot decries, but to move outward: to broaden what we mean by “bioethics” and, in so doing, to expand where and when it happens, who may practice it, and why it matters. In what follows I seek to sketch out the contours of a more radical kind of bioethics. [End Page 7] Radical, that is, in two senses: radical as foundational, returning to the field’s roots, and in the process, radical as revolutionary, an uprooting that may allow for a new pattern of growth. The birth of bioethics as a discipline is usually linked to the founding of the Hastings Center in 1969 and of the Kennedy Institute for Ethics in 1971. However, credit for coining the word “bioethics” is often granted to research oncologist Van Rensselaer Potter, who first used it in 1970 but who had little interaction with either of these institutions.5 Potter’s bioethics was dramatically different from the discipline that coalesced under its name. Closely attuned to the effects of environmental carcinogens, Potter envisioned bioethics as a field that would explore the relationship between the health of human beings and the health of the rest of the natural world. Potter’s bioethics extended beyond simply appreciating the intersection of human health and the environment: bioethics was to be global in scope, transdisciplinary in method, and, most importantly, compelled by a commitment to action that demanded personal engagement with social issues. Despite the expansive vision of bioethics found in Potter’s work, however, or perhaps because of it, the field Potter christened has largely ignored the substance of his thought. I am not the first to suggest that bioethics might look to its linguistic past to unearth an alternative perspective on its future.6 In an essay on Potter in the American Journal of Bioethics, Peter Whitehouse has argued that Potter’s work has the potential to change the field by asking bioethicists to engage more fully with the local and global communities of which they are a part.7 In what follows, I hope to apply Potter’s thought more broadly—beyond institutional bioethics sited in the academy or clinic and into what Tod Chambers has called “vernacular bioethics,” a more ordinary and what I will argue is a more quotidian understanding of bioethics.8 This sense of bioethics as an everyday practice is exemplified by the “Bioethical Creed for Individuals” Potter introduced in his first book, Bioethics: Bridge to the Future.9 I argue that the creed promotes what I will call a bioethos, a way of living on behalf of life itself. To...
Published: 1 January 2016
Literature and Medicine, Volume 34, pp 237-238; https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2016.0004

J Willms, H Schneiderman
Published: 1 January 1988
Literature and Medicine, Volume 7

J Willms, H Schneiderman
Published: 1 January 1988
Literature and Medicine, Volume 7

Published: 1 January 1990
Literature and Medicine, Volume 9, pp 1-195

N El Saadawi
Published: 1 January 1995
Literature and Medicine, Volume 14, pp 53-71

E D Pellegrino, A A Pellegrino
Published: 1 January 1988
Literature and Medicine, Volume 7, pp 22-38

Published: 1 January 1991
Literature and Medicine, Volume 10

Published: 1 January 1986
Literature and Medicine, Volume 5

Published: 1 January 1988
Literature and Medicine, Volume 7

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