Spring 2013 Undergraduate English Courses

350:393 Literature and Medicine








01- Literature and Medicine
In the 21st century, disease seems to belong to the clean, well-lighted place of fact and biology. And yet, illness and medical treatment take place in culture and are complicated by language, history, economics, and politics. Literature about illness and medicine explores the meeting place of science and culture, along with shifting understandings of patient and doctor, health and illness, body and mind. In this course, we’ll discuss how illnesses are used in literature for social and cultural commentary. We’ll read range of contemporary and 20th-century fiction and nonfiction: memoirs that ponder the limits of language, narratives about how different cultures define health and healing; novels that raise questions about the relationship between our brains and our selves; and essays by physicians and patients that examine the meaning of embodied experience.

Readings include: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Bauby); Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro); The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Fadiman); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Haddon), as well as essays by Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande.