This book is a contribution to humanistic studies of illness. Medical humanities are by nature cross-disciplinary, and in recent years studies in this field have been recognized as a platform for dialogue between the “two cultures” of the natural sciences and the humanities.
Illness in Context is a result of an encounter of several disciplines, including medicine, history and literature. The main stress is on the literary perspectives of the interdisciplinary collaboration. The reading practices highlighting the clinical, phenomenological and archeological approaches to illness take as their point of departure the living text, that is, the literary experience mediated and created by the text. Literature is seen not solely as a medium for the representation of experiences of illness, but also as a historical praxis involved in the forging of our common understanding of illness. In contrast to traditional literary analysis – primarily oriented toward the interpretation of the literary work’s meaning – the project will emphasize description and understanding of how literature itself performs as a means of interpretation of reality. The target group for this book comprises professionals in the various disciplines, and students of health and culture. The ambition is to contribute to teaching in humanistic illness research, and function as a topical resource book that formulates controversial problems in the crucial meeting of medicine and the humanities.