Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Erika Wright, "Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel"
English | ISBN: 0821422243 | 2016 | 224 pages | PDF | 1 MB

"Wright's thoroughly original analysis focuses not on narratives of illness, but on narratives of healthThus reading against the grain, Wright uncovers a hidden history of health and of the novel itself." -Pamela K. Gilbert, author of Disease, Desire and the Body in Victorian Women's Popular NovelsIn , Erika Wright argues that the emphasis in Victorian Studies on disease as the primary source of narrative conflict that must be resolved has obscured the complex reading practices that emerge around the concept of health. By shifting attention to the ways that prevention of illness and the preservation of well-being operate in fiction, both thematically and structurally, Wright offers a new approach to reading character and voice, order and temporality, setting and metaphor. As Wright reveals, while canonical works by Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Martineau, and Gaskell register the pervasiveness of a conventional "therapeutic" form of action and mode of reading, they demonstrate as well an equally powerful investment in the achievement and maintenance of "health"-what Wright refers to as a "hygienic" narrative-both in personal and domestic conduct and in social interaction of the individual within the community.


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