Master Literature & Medicine

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Comments about Master Literature & Medicine - At the institution - London - Greater London

  • Entry requirements
    For both humanities graduates and healthcare professionals wishing to explore all aspects of the relationship between literature and medicine.
  • Academic title
    MA Literature & Medicine
  • Course description
    Programme description

    - challenges conventional boundaries between the humanities and sciences.
    - critically approaches important concepts, such as narrative, case, case history, pathography, medical fiction.
    - offers excellent interdisciplinary seminars.

    There are two compulsory methodological modules. Narrative, medicine: Narrative Medicine examines what kind of ground the two disciplines might share and how they might enrich one another. You will study and debate the methodological preconditions of what constitutes genuine interdisciplinarity.

    The core module considers the use and abuse of literary concepts in medical practice and of medical ideas and history in literature; representations of the body in literature; and illness and the nature of artistic experience. The second compulsory module is called Explorations in Literature & Medicine. It takes the form of a weekly seminar in which a practitioner in the field describes the approach(es) they have developed to bring the two disciplines into dialogue with one another.

    Two optional modules in Literature & Medicine are also offered: The Doctor in Literature and Literature & Psychiatry in the 20th century. You will also write a dissertation which can be shaped by your own interests providing that the topic falls within the compass of Literature and Medicine. Other options are available from courses offered by the Department of English.

    Programme format and assessment
    Two compulsory methodological modules; two optional modules; dissertation

    Programme modules for MA Literature & Medicine
    Literature & Psychiatry in the Twentieth Century

    This course is intended to complement the course in “Literature and Psychiatry from Locke to Freud” that the convenors already offer via the Literature and Medicine MA. It may run on alternate years with this precursor course or it may supersede the latter entirely. Its primary aim is to explore the explicit representation of psychiatry and psychiatric theory in twentieth-century literature and film. (Thus, this is not a course in the psycho-analytic interpretation of literary texts.) Although psycho-analysis has had the most profound impact on the representation of psychiatry and of mental disorder more generally in twentieth-century European culture, the course will examine a broad range of representations of psychiatrists and psychiatry (early twentieth-century neurology, psycho-analysis, anti-psychiatry, psychiatry based on developments in clinical pharmacology from the 1950s onwards, and evolutionary psychology). It will pay special attention to late twentieth-century depictions of psychiatry before 1920. Among the themes to be considered by the course will be the extent the nature and goals of psychiatry can be encompassed by literary works; fiction writers’ reliance on psycho-analysis as a cultural touchstone; and psychiatry’s larger function in popular culture.

    The Doctor in Literature
    This module aims to introduce students to some of the most powerful literary depictions of the physician from Ancient times to the present day. It should thereby allow students to develop an informed and accurate understanding of medicine in Western literature over a long time period. The chronological design of the module will enable students to observe the different levels of integration that medicine has achieved, at various stages in its development, with other spheres of endeavour including with ancient cosmology, Judaism and Christianity, rhetoric, science and with various social transformations. Among the topics to be considered on the module are: Medicine in the literature of Ancient Greece and Rome; The Bible and medicine; St Augustine and God's work on the body; Medicine and the renaissance rhetorical tradition; Shakespeare and medicine; Literature and the sexually-opportunistic medical practitioner; The nineteenth-century novel and the doctor; Chekhov and Shaw

    One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

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