Literature and Medicine


Because illness, physical and mental suffering, and fear of death can have such powerful and disturbing effects, literary works depicting them offer unique insights into human experience. In this class we will read a selection of literary works that depict the suffering caused by diseases like cancer, tuberculosis, asthma, and plague; explore the symbolic and allegorical meanings that have come to be associated with them; and consider the roles and responsibilities of physicians charged with treating patients with these conditions. Readings will be drawn from such writers as Sontag, William Carlos Williams, Defoe, Dickens, Poe, and George Eliot. We will read modern English translations of works by such writers as Boccaccio, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Mann, Proust, and Camus. In this writing-intensive course, students will develop their skill in literary analysis, and will be urged to establish their own voices as writers and thinkers. Students will be enrolled from the waitlist; preference will be given to Medical Humanities minors, English majors and minors, and seniors.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; AS WI I; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Literature and Medicine
View Course Listing - SP2022
View Course Listing - SP2023
View Course Listing - SP2024