Romanticism, Medicine, and the Poet's Body
Ashgate, 2007 - 166 pages
That medicine becomes professionalized at the very moment that literature becomes "Romantic" is an important coincidence, and James Allard makes the most of it. His book restores the physical body to its proper place in Romantic studies by exploring the status of the human body during the period. With meticulous detail, he documents the way medical discourse consolidates a body susceptible to medical authority that is then represented in the works of Romantic era poets. In doing so, he attends not only to the history of medicine's professionalization but significantly to the rhetoric of legitimation that advances the authority of doctors over the bodies of patients and readers alike. After surveying trends in Romantic-era medicine and analyzing the body's treatment in key texts by Wordsworth and Joanna Baillie, Allard moves quickly to his central subject-the Poet-Physician. This hybrid figure, discovered in the works of the medically trained John Keats, John Thelwall, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, embodies the struggles occasioned by the discrepancies and affinities between medicine and poetry.
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Wordsworth Baillie and the Romantic Body
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