The Female Body in Medicine and Literature

BookThe Female Body in Medicine and Literature

The Female Body in Medicine and Literature

2012

August 1st, 2012

£16.99
£16.99

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The Female Body in Medicine and Literature features essays that explore literary texts in relation to the history of gynaecology and women’s surgery. Gender studies and feminist approaches to literature have become busy and enlightening fields of enquiry in recent times, yet there remains no single work that fully analyses the impact of women’s surgery on literary production or, conversely, ways in which literary trends have shaped the course of gynaecology and other branches of women’s medicine. This book will demonstrate how fiction and medicine have a long-established tradition of looking towards each other for inspiration and elucidation in questions of gender. Medical textbooks and pamphlets have consistently cited fictional plots and characterisations as a way of communicating complex or ‘sensitive’ ideas. Essays explore historical accounts of clinical procedures, the relationship between gynaecology and psychology, and cultural conceptions of motherhood, fertility, and the female organisation through a broad range of texts including Henry More’s Pre-Existency of the Soul (1659), Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1855), and Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues (1998). The Female Body in Medicine and Literature raises important theoretical questions on the relationship between popular culture, literature, and the growth of women’s medicine and will be required reading for scholars in gender studies, literary studies and the history of medicine. This collection explores the complex intersections between literature and the medical treatment of women between 1600 and 2000. Employing a range of methodologies, it furthers our understanding of the development of women’s medicine and comments on its wider cultural ramifications. Although there has been an increase in critical studies of women’s medicine in recent years, this collection is a key contributor to that field because it draws together essays on a wide range of new topics from varying disciplines. It features, for instance, studies of motherhood, fertility, clinical procedure, and the relationship between gynaecology and psychology. Besides offering essays on subjects that have received a lack of critical attention, the essays presented here are truly interdisciplinary; they explore the complex links between gynaecology, art, language, and philosophy, and underscore how popular art forms have served an important function in the formation of ‘women’s science’ prior to the twenty-first century. This book also demonstrates how a number of high-profile controversies were taken up and reworked by novelists, philosophers, and historians. Focusing on the vexed and convoluted story of women’s medicine, this volume offers new ways of thinking about gender, science, and the Western imagination.

This collection explores the complex intersections between literature and the medical treatment of women between 1600 and 2000. With contributors employing a variety of methodologies, and considering a broad range of texts from Henry More’s Pre-Existency of the Soul (1659) to the 2004 film Vera Drake, the book furthers our understanding of the development of women’s medicine and comments on its wider cultural ramifications. Although there has been an increase in critical studies of women’s medicine in recent years, this collection breaks new ground by drawing together essays on a wide range of new topics from varying disciplines, including studies of motherhood, fertility, clinical procedure, and the relationship between gynaecology and psychology. Besides their focus on subjects that have suffered from a lack of critical attention, the essays presented here are truly interdisciplinary; they explore the complex links between gynaecology, art, language, and philosophy, and underscore how popular art forms have served an important function in the formation of ‘women’s science’ prior to the twenty-first century. The book also demonstrates how a number of high-profile controversies were taken up and reworked by novelists, philosophers, and historians. Focusing on the vexed story of women’s medicine, this volume offers new ways of thinking about gender, science, and the Western imagination.

Contributors: Janice Allan is a Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History at the University of Salford. Madeleine K. Davies is a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Reading. Greta Depledge is an Associate Tutor for the Open University and for the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck College, London. Laurie Garrison is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln. Joanna Grant is Collegiate Professor and Wandering Scholar for the University of Maryland University College. Lori Schroeder Haslem is a Professor of English at Knox College in Illinois, USA. Dominic Janes is a lecturer in the Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College, London. Emma L. Jones is a Research Associate at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Manchester. Karín Lesnik-Oberstein is a Reader in Critical Theory in the Department of English and American Literature at the University of Reading, and the Director of the Department’s Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media (CIRCL). Pam Lieske is an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University at Trumbull, USA. Andrew Mangham is a lecturer in the Department of English and American Literature at the University of Reading. Emma L. E. Rees is Deputy Head of English and Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester. Sheena Sommers is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto in the Department of History. Susan C. Staub is a professor of English at Appalachian State University, North Carolina. Carolyn D.Williams is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and American Literature at the University of Reading.

An engaging and important book.
Holly Furneaux

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About The Author

Andrew Mangham is Associate Professor in Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Reading, author of 'Dickens’s Forensic Realism: Truth, Bodies, Evidence' (Ohio State University Press, 2017) and 'Violent Women and Sensation Fiction: Crime, Medicine and Victorian Popular Culture' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), editor of 'The Cambridge Companion to Sensation Fiction' (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and co-editor of 'The Female Body in Medicine and Literature' (Liverpool University Press, 2011). Greta Depledge is a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London