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Vital Signs : Medical Realism in Nineteenth-Century Fiction - Lawrence Rothfield

Vital Signs

Medical Realism in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Paperback Published: 1st January 1995
ISBN: 9780691029542
Number Of Pages: 256

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"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.

Industry Reviews

"Vital Signs fulfills some of the urgent needs of literature and medicine as a discipline through its rigorous historical and intellectual scholarship, its perceptive close readings of several texts in the canon of literature and medicine, and its challenging assertions of the intimacy between clinical medicine and realism."--Rita Charon, Literature and Medicine "A unique historicist literary analysis of medical realism in fiction."--Marsha Terry Winter, Nineteenth-Century French Studies "Vital Signs is a careful investigation of medical modes of thinking in the nineteenth century and their relationship to the Victorian realist novel... of vital interest to anyone concerned with realism as a literary form... an impressive work of cultural history... Vital Signs has opened up a significant new approach to the issue of realism, and one that is argued persuasively in an unusually thorough and well-designed study."--P. Melville Logan, Victorian Studies

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Medicine and Mimesis: The Contours of a Configurationp. 3
Disarticulating Madame Bovary: Flaubert and the Medicalization of the Realp. 15
Paradigms and Professionalism: Balzacian Realism in Discursive Contextp. 46
"A New Organ of Knowledge": Medical Organicism and the Limits of Realism in Middlemarchp. 84
On the Realism/Naturalism Distinction: Some Archaeological Considerationsp. 120
From Diagnosis to Deduction: Sherlock Holmes and the Perversion of Realismp. 130
The Pathological Perspective: Clinical Realism's Decline and the Emergence of Modernist Counter-Discoursep. 148
Epilogue: Toward a New Historicist Methodologyp. 175
Notesp. 193
Indexp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691029542
ISBN-10: 0691029547
Series: Literature in History
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 1st January 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.36