Vital Signs offers both a compelling reinterpretation of the nineteenth-century novel and a methodological challenge to literary historians. Rejecting theories that equate realism with representation, Lawrence Rothfield argues that literary history forms a subset of the history of discourses and their attendant practices. He shows how clinical medicine provided Balzac, Flaubert, Eliot, and others with narrative strategies, epistemological assumptions, and models of professional authority. He also traces the linkages between medicine's eventual decline in scientific and social status and realism's displacement by naturalism, detective fiction, and modernism.
About the Author
Lawrence Rothfield is Associate Professor of English at the University of Chicago.
Table of Contents
|1||Medicine and Mimesis: The Contours of a Configuration||3|
|2||Disarticulating Madame Bovary: Flaubert and the Medicalization of the Real||15|
|3||Paradigms and Professionalism: Balzacian Realism in Discursive Context||46|
|4||"A New Organ of Knowledge": Medical Organicism and the Limits of Realism in Middlemarch||84|
|5||On the Realism/Naturalism Distinction: Some Archaeological Considerations||120|
|6||From Diagnosis to Deduction: Sherlock Holmes and the Perversion of Realism||130|
|7||The Pathological Perspective: Clinical Realism's Decline and the Emergence of Modernist Counter-Discourse||148|
|Epilogue: Toward a New Historicist Methodology||175|
What People are Saying About This
An important reinterpretation of nineteenth-century realism. Its description of the novel's interrelationship with the discourse of clinical medicine clearly surpasses that of any other study in its precision, detail, and complexity.
Catherine Gallagher, University of California, Berkeley