ENMLM-Literature and Medicine

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Mangham

Email: a.s.mangham@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will explore the complex intersections between literature and medicine between 1750 and 1900. This period of revolution saw new and enormous demands put on medicine. Urban migration, industrial development, and other pressures of 'modern life' put unprecedented strain on humand bodies and minds. Machines introduced a new range of serious and catastrophic injuries,plus easier international travel increased the number of micro-biotic immigrants. Towns and cities may have been awash with disease, death, and primitive forms of treatment, but, in the period's scientific literature, doctors show themselves to be meeting such pressures with inventive and ground-breaking discoveries. Hospitals, nursing, anaesthesia, psychology, forensics, and anatomy all saw revolutions in practice and theory. In this module, we will explore how these developments had an impact on the shape and quality of the period's fiction: literature, by the likes of Smollett, Dickens, and Zola features ideas and influcences from a range of writing on medicine and, in the shape and texture, the novel responded to the wider philosophical and pragmatic debates running through the medical field. In this module students will get to grips with the history of medical humanities; we will consider canonical and non-canonical texts alongside medical treatises, medical journals and real case histories.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

•trace the key developments in English literary history in this period
•place literary works within their cultural and historical context
•consider how the material conditions of literature affect textual interpretation
•read historical and archival materials with the sensitivity of literary criticism
•conduct and demonstrate independent thought and research in the selection and
•undertake bibliographic research and analysis of primary textual material

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop oral communication skills through seminar discussions. They will develop knowledge of both bibliographic and electronic resources for the study of this period.

Outline content:
In this module we will look at medical and literary texts from 1750-1900. We will approach the subject through a series of case-studies including 'insanity', 'sexual health', 'medical realism', 'forensic medicine', 'accident and emergency'. Students will be provided with a course pack containing relevant historical sources (from medical journals, medical textbooks, newspapers and hospital records), and will be expected to think critically about the intersections between medicine and literature. We will cover a range of texts, from Dickens and Wilkie Collins, to Zola and Dostoevsky.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of ten weekly seminars, each two-hours long. Each seminar will involve discussion of texts or special material set and prepared in advance. The convenor will be available for consultaiton on a one-to-one basis to discuss students' work and the progress of the module as a whole.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Total hours by term
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 10 April 2019


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