Romanticism Medicine and the Poet's Bodyby James Robert Allard
Pub. Date: 10/30/2007
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
That medicine becomes professionalized at the very moment that literature becomes "Romantic" is an important coincidence, and James Allard makes the most of it. His book restores the physical body to its proper place in Romantic studies by exploring the status of the human body during the period. With meticulous detail, he documents the way medical discourse consolidates a body susceptible to medical authority that is then represented in the works of Romantic era poets. In doing so, he attends not only to the history of medicine's professionalization but significantly to the rhetoric of legitimation that advances the authority of doctors over the bodies of patients and readers alike. After surveying trends in Romantic-era medicine and analyzing the body's treatment in key texts by Wordsworth and Joanna Baillie, Allard moves quickly to his central subject-the Poet-Physician.
This hybrid figure, discovered in the works of the medically trained John Keats, John Thelwall, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, embodies the struggles occasioned by the discrepancies and affinities between medicine and poetry.
Table of Contents
Contents: General editors' preface; Introduction: body talk. Part I Romantic(izing) Bodies: Body conscious: vitalities, corporealities, and the anatomies of romantic medicine; 'Flesh and blood': Wordsworth, Baillie, and the romantic body. Part II Embodying Romanticism(s): 'Great vital organs': Thelwall's The Perpatetic, radical materialism, and the body politic; 'Shap'd and palpable': Keats and the poet's body; 'The body's laws': flesh, souls, and transgression in Beddoes's Death's Jest Book. Part III Coda; Apollo's poets; Works cited; Index.
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