The module explores literary representations of health and sickness. Our understanding of illness is not simply determined by physical symptoms but influenced by class, gender, and ethnicity, and perceived differently by patients, practitioners, and policymakers. This module examines the myths and metaphors that contribute to our understanding of health and sickness. Topics include anxiety, disability, euthanasia, the doctor-patient relation, pain, and mental health.
Together we will read a selection of short literary texts by authors such as A.S. Byatt, Philip Roth, and Ian McEwan. You will be introduced to a selection of material from the history, philosophy, and sociology of medicine. We will also reflect on the rise of narrative medicine and the requirement from the medical sciences for practice-based evidence.
No medical knowledge required.
|Week||Topic / Readings|
Kathryn Montgomery, How Doctors Think (2006) (Chapter One) | Library Link
Bleakley, Alan. "What are the 'medical humanities'? Definitions and controversies" Medical Humanities and Medical Education: How the medical humanities can shape better doctors. Routledge, 2015, pp. 40-59. | Download PDF
Crawford, Paul, Brian Brown, Charley Baker, Victoria Tischler and Brian Abrams. Health Humanities. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015. | Download PDF
Dolan, Brian, editor. Humanitas: Readings in the Development of the Medical Humanities. Virtuoso Press, 2015. | Download PDF
Marini, Maria Giulia. Narrative Medicine. Springer International Publishing, 2016. | Download PDF
Billington, Josie. Is Literature Healthy?. Oxford University Press, 2016. | Download PDF
Davis, Philip. Reading the Reader. Oxford University Press, 2013. | Download PDF
Whitehead, Anne,. and Angela Woods editors. The Edinburgh Companion To The Critical Medical Humanities. Edinburgh University Press, 2016. | Download PDF
Whitehead, Anne. "The Medical Humanities: A Literary Perspective." Medicine, Health and the Arts: Approaches to the Medical Humanities, edited by Victoria Bates, Alan Bleakley, and Sam Goodman, Routledge, 2014, pp. 107-127 | Download PDF
Brody, Howard. Stories of Sickness. Oxford University Press, 2003. | Download PDF
Mattingly, Cheryl, and Linda Garro. Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing, University of California Press, 2003. | Download PDF
Schleifer, Ronald, and Jerry Vannatta. The Chief Concern of Medicine, University of Michigan Press, 2013. | Download PDF
The Doctor-Patient Relation
Balint, Michael. The Doctor, His Patient and the Illness. Churchill Livingstone, 2005.| Download PDF
Kleinman, Arthur. "The meaning of symptoms and disorders." The illness narratives: Suffering, healing, and the human condition. Basic books, 1988, pp. 3-30 | Download PDF
Brinkmann, Svend. "Introducing the concept of diagnostic cultures" Diagnostic Cultures. Routledge, 2016, pp. 7-26. | Download PDF
Kelly, Michael P. and Louise M. Millward. "Identity and illness" Identity and Health, edited by David Kelleher and Gerard Leavey. Routledge, 2004, pp. 1-18. | Download PDF
Williams, Simon J., Jonathan Gabe and Michael Calnan, editors. Health, medicine and society. Routledge, 2000. | Download PDF
Furst, Lilian. Between Doctors and Patients. The University Press of Virginia, 1998. | Download PDF
Miah, Andy, and Emma Rich. "Cyberpatients, Illness Narratives, and Medicalization." The Medicalization of Cyberspace. Routledge, 2008, pp. 59-70. | Download PDF
Bigelow, Catherine, and Joanne Stone. "Bed Rest in Pregnancy." Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, vol 78, no. 2, 2011, pp. 291–302. |Download PDF
Biggio Jr., Joseph R. "Bed Rest in Pregnancy: Time to Put the Issue to Rest." Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 121, no. 6, 2013, pp. 1158-1160. |Download PDF
McCall, Christina A., David A. Grimes, and Anne Drapkin Lyerly. "“Therapeutic” Bed Rest in Pregnancy: Unethical and Unsupported by Data." Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 121, no. 6, 2013, pp. 1305-1308. |Download PDF
Sundaram, Swathy. Jeffrey S. Harman, and Robert L. Cook. "Maternal Morbidities and Postpartum Depression: An Analysis Using the 2007 and 2008 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System." Women's Health Issues, vol. 24, no. 4, 2014, pp. 381–388. |Download PDF
Maloni, Judith A. "Lack of evidence for prescription of antepartum bed rest." Expert Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 6, no. 4, 2011, pp. 385–393. doi:10.1586/eog.11.28. | Download PDF
The Social Construction of Health and Sickness
Gray's Anatomy. dir. Steven Soderburgh (1997)
Leder, Drew. "Rethinking pain: the paradoxical problem." The Distressed Body: Rethinking Illness, Imprisonment, and Healing. University of Chicago Press, 2016, pp. 24-41. | Download PDF
Hardy, Anne. Health and Medicine in Britain Since 1860. Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. | Download PDF
Schrecker, Ted, and Clare Bambra. How politics makes us sick: Neoliberal epidemics. Springer, 2015. | Download PDF
Morris, David B. "What Is Postmodern Illness?" Illness and Culture in the Postmodern Age. University of California Press, 2000, pp. 50-77. | Download PDF
Gauld, Robin. "The Health Care System in Singapore." Health Care Systems in Europe and Asia, edited by Christian Aspalter et al., Routledge, 2012, pp. 150-166. | Download PDF
Fay Weldon, ‘A Hard Time to be a Father’ (1998)
Sontag, Susan. Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. Penguin Books, 2002. | Download PDF
Bourke, Joanna. "Metaphor" The story of pain: from prayer to painkillers. OUP Oxford, 2014, pp. 53-87. | Download PDF
Fassler, Joe. "How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously". The Atlantic 2015. Read here.
Lorber, Judith, and Lisa Jean Moore. Gender and the social construction of illness. Rowman Altamira, 2002. | Download PDF
Woollett, Anne and Harriette Marshall. "Discourses of pregnancy and childbirth" Material discourses of health and illness, edited by Lucy Yardley. Routledge, 1997, pp. 176-198. | Download PDF
"Stories of Misunderstanding Women's Pain". The Atlantic 2016. Read here.
Hoffman, Diane E., Anita J. Tarzian. "The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain." Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, vol. 29, no. 1, 2001, pp. 13-27. |Download PDF
The Medical Gaze
Ian McEwan, Saturday (2005) | Library Link
Safe. dir. Todd Haynes (1995)
Foucault, Michel. Introduction. The Birth of the Clinic, Routledge, 1989, pp. ix-xxii. | Download PDF
Fertel, Randy. “Saturn vs. Hermes: The Battle of the Hemispheres in Ian McEwan’s Saturday.” jml: Journal of Modern Literature 39.3 (2016): 53-71. | Download PDF
Green, Susan. “Consciousness And Ian Mcewan’s Saturday: What Henry Knows’.” English Studies: A Journal Of English Language And Literature 91.1 (2010): 58-73. | Download PDF
Hillard, G. “The Limits Of Rationalism In Ian Mcewan’s SATURDAY.” Explicator 68.2 (2010): 140-143. | Download PDF
Rogers, Janine. “The Grandeur in This View of Life: Consciousness and Literary Form in Ian McEwan’s Saturday.” Unified Fields: Science and Literary Form. Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014. 162-83. | Download PDF
Thrailkill, Jane F. “Ian Mcewan’s Neurological Novel.” Poetics Today 32.1 (2011): 171-201. | Download PDF
Graham Swift, ‘The Hypochondriac’
Furst, Lilian R. Idioms of Distress: Psychosomatic Disorders in Medical and Imaginative Literature. State University of New York Press, 2003. | Download PDF
Cain, M. J. "Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Cognitive Science." The Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Polity Press, 2016, pp. 1-24. | Download PDF
Lewis, Bradley. Moving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and The New Psychiatry, University of Michigan Press, 2006. | Download PDF
Frank, Arthur W. The Wounded Storyteller. The University of Chicago Press, 1995. | Download PDF
Hawkins, Anne Hunsaker. "Introduction." Reconstructing Illness : Studies in Pathography. West Lafayette, Ind. : Purdue University Press, 1999, pp. 1-30 | Download PDF
Jurecic, Ann. "Illness narratives and the challenge to criticism." Illness as narrative. University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2012, pp. 1-17. | Download PDF
Bolaki, Stella. Introduction. Illness as Many Narratives, by Bolaki, Edinburgh University Press, 2016, pp. 1-25. | Download PDF
Green, Michael T., and Myers, Kimberly R. "Graphic medicine: use of comics in medical education and patient care." BMJ: British Medical Journal, Vol. 340, No. 7746, 2010, pp. 574-577 | Download PDF
Squier, Susan M. “Graphic Medicine in the University.” Hastings Center Report, vol. 45, no. 3, 2015, pp. 19-22 | Download PDF
Weaver-Hightower, Marcus B. "Losing Thomas & Ella: A Father’s Story
A.S. Byatt, ‘A Stone Woman’ (2003)
Dying at Grace. dir. Allan King (2003)
Frank, Arthur W. "What's wrong with medical consumerism?" Consuming Health, edited by Saras Henderson and Alan Petersen. Routledge, 2002, pp. 13-30. | Download PDF
Halpern, Jodi. "Clinical Empathy in Medical Care." Empathy: From Bench to Bedside, edited by Jean Decety, The MIT Press, 2012, pp. 230-244. | Download PDF
Stacey, Jackie. Teratologies: A Cultural Study of Cancer. Routledge, 1997. | Download PDF
Jamison, Leslie. "The Empathy Exams." The Empathy Exams, Granta, 2014, pp. 1-26 | Download PDF
Will Self, ‘Leberknodel’ (2009)
Morris, David B. "Pain is Always in Your Head." The Culture of Pain University of California Press, 1991, pp. 152-173. | Download PDF
Chong, Siow Ann. Fieldnotes of a Psychiatrist. Straits Times Press, 2018 | Download PDF
Philip Roth, Nemesis
Matt Leacock, Pandemic (board game)
Medical Futurist: Doctors should play board games to get better at teamwork
Medicine Matters: This is a comprehensive list of medical board games.
|14||Creative Project Show-and-Tell|
Please purchase: McEwan.
See here for Supplementary Readings.
- Graphic (10%) Tuesday 22 October
You will design a graphic that dramatises a key concept in the medical humanities, showing how your skills as a literary scholar relate to issues of urgent concern.
- Concept Map (10%) Tuesday 5 November
Each week your group will contribute to a concept map that establishes links between key theories and texts on the module.
- Essay (40%) Tuesday 26 November |Submit
Your essay will defend an original thesis about two of the texts read in class and forge interdisciplinary links between literature and the history, sociology, or philosophy of medicine. Plenty of advice and support will be provided through tutorials, office hours, and constructive feedback on the formative proposal.
- Creative Project (40%) Tuesday 12 November | Submit
You will be invited to reflect on the literary texts studied for the module in relation to a real-world public health issue. You can film yourself, or take stills and put them together with text on powerpoint, or make posters. You can even create an installation, or paint, or draw or use digital media, as long as you forge a connection between the arts and humanities and current debates on health and healthcare.