Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

by Erika Wright

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In Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Erika Wright argues that the emphasis in Victorian Studies on disease as the primary source of narrative conflict that must be resolved has obscured the complex reading practices that emerge around the concept of health. By shifting attention to the ways that prevention of illness and the preservation of well-being operate in fiction, both thematically and structurally, Wright offers a new approach to reading character and voice, order and temporality, setting and metaphor. As Wright reveals, while canonical works by Austen, Brontë, Dickens, Martineau, and Gaskell register the pervasiveness of a conventional “therapeutic” form of action and mode of reading, they demonstrate as well an equally powerful investment in the achievement and maintenance of “health”—what Wright refers to as a “hygienic” narrative—both in personal and domestic conduct and in social interaction of the individual within the community.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780821445631
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2016
Series: Series in Victorian Studies
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 761 KB

About the Author

Erika Wright is a clinical instructor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Studies in the Novel and the Midwest Modern Language Association Journal.

Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction: Becoming Patient Readers Part One: Domestication One: Jane Austen’s Plots of Prevention Two: Health, Identity, and Narrative Authority in Jane Eyre Part Two: Isolation Three: Quarantine, Social Theory, and Little Dorrit Four: The Omniscience of Invalidism Part Three: Professionalization Five: Narrative Competence and the Family Doctor in Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters Afterword: Health in Narrative Medicine Notes Bibliography Index

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