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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The study of literature and medicine in the Romantic period is an established and expanding field. However, scholars have tended to focus on a few canonical writers and a small number of texts, thereby obscuring the age’s huge diversity of medical writing. This chapter takes a wider view, presenting five case studies of medically trained or medically connected writers who demonstrate the broad intersection between medical and literary culture: John Aikin, Benjamin Rush, Joanna Baillie (sister of the physician Matthew Baillie), Erasmus Darwin, and John Keats. The chapter uses these case studies to show what is distinctive or innovative about interactions between literature and medicine in the period. The case studies also represent different genres of medical literature, or different genres that became in some sense medicalized: biography, autobiography, drama, didactic poetry, and epic. Each case study includes some consideration of the reception history of the genre in question.

Keywords: anatomy, medicine, Edinburgh, Scottish Enlightenment, physician autobiography, medical biography, didactic poetry, epic, drama

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