Both the actualities and the metaphorical possibilities of illness and medicine abound in literature: from the presence of tuberculosis in Franz Kafka's fiction or childbed fever in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to disease in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice or in Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska; from the stories of Anton Chekhov and of William Carlos Williams, both doctors, to the poetry of nurses derived from their contrasting experiences. These are just a few examples of the cross-pollination between literature and medicine.
It is no surprise, then, that courses in literature and medicine flourish in undergraduate curricula, medical schools, and continuing-education programs throughout the United States and Canada.
This volume, in the MLA series Options for Teaching, presents a variety of approaches to the subject. It is intended both for literary scholars and for physicians who teach literature and medicine or who are interested in enriching their courses in either discipline by introducing interdisciplinary dimensions.
The thirty-four essays in Teaching Literature and Medicine describe model courses; deal with specific texts, authors, and genres; list readings widely taught in literature and medicine courses; discuss the value of texts in both medical education and the practice of medicine; and provide bibliographic resources, including works in the history of medicine from classical antiquity.