Dr. Stephanie Galasso

Taught in English. No prerequisites.
Crosslisted with Comparative Literature 01:195:314:01

Literature & Medicine

In times of pain, illness, and injury, we turn to physicians to alleviate our suffering. We turn also to literature and the arts for the unique solace these forms can provide. In this course, we will examine the relationships between literature and medicine: how have writers depicted those areas of experience often considered the exclusive domain of medical practice? Conversely, how has the emergence of “modern” medicine shaped literary and cultural production? We will also ask how racism, sexism, and queerphobia influence whose pain and suffering are seen as deserving care.
The course will include theoretical and literary readings from a variety of traditions. A central focus will be the contributions of German-language thinkers and authors to these discourses.
Topics and authors may include the mind-body duality of the European Enlightenment and its lasting influence on conceptions of illness and pathology (Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Anton Wilhelm Amo); the difficulties of diagnosis (Thomas Mann, Jhumpa Lahiri); literary depictions of the doctor (Gottfried Benn); mental health and therapeutic practices (Sylvia Plath); and death, grief and mourning (Sigmund Freud, W. G. Sebald).

Fulfills SAS Core Goals AHo, AHp, WCd