Medical Progress and Social Reality

A Reader in Nineteenth-Century Medicine and Literature

Edited by Lilian R. Furst

Subjects: History Of Science
Series: SUNY series, The Margins of Literature
Paperback : 9780791448045, 328 pages, October 2000
Hardcover : 9780791448038, 328 pages, October 2000

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Table of contents


Introduction: From Speculation to Science


Humoral Medicine
Cadavers and Instruments
Germ Theory
Antisepsis, Asepsis, and Anesthesia
Sociological Changes


1. An Introduction to the Ethical Basis of Medical Practice: The Hippocratic Oath and Its Successors


The Hippocratic Oath
The Christian Hippocratic Oath
American Medical Association's 1847 Code of Ethics
American Medical Association's 1980 Principles of Medical Ethics


2. An Old Style Doctor: An Introduction to Selections from Anthony TrollopeDr. Thorne


Dr. Thorne
Lady Arabella, a Patient in Two Minds
Sir Roger, a Cantakerous Patient
Dr. Fillgrave, a Rival
Sir Roger's Appeal to Dr. Thorne


3. The Cult of Pathology: An Introduction to Selections from Eugène Sue's Les Mystères de Paris


Death in the Hospital
Dr. Griffon


4. Blood-Letting and Septic Surgery: An Introduction to Selections from Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary


A Broken Leg
Settling into Practice
A Blood-Letting


5. Germs, Drugs, Diagnoses, and Cadavers: An Introduction to Selections from George Eliot's Middlemarch


A Conflict of Opinions
The New Hospital
Lydgate's Ideals
A Case of Typhoid Fever
Dispensing of Drugs
Abdominal Cramps and Pneumonia
Facing the Truth
Gathering Opposition


6. The Laboratory and Its Products: An Introduction to Selections from Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


The Delinquent Mr. Hyde and His Check
Visits to Dr. Jekyll
Crying Out for the Drug
Dr. Jekyll's Experiments
Dr. Jekyll's Confession


7. Advances toward More Scientific Practice: An Introduction to Selections from Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith


Doc Vickerson's Office
Arrowsmith's Office in Wheatsylvania
How to Obtain Honor and Riches
Telephone and Car
A Case of Diphtheria


8. Emergency! An Introduction to Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Steel Windpipe"


"The Steel Windpipe"


9. Telling the Truth: An Introduction to Selections from Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks




10. A Poor Woman's Plight: An Introduction to Selections from George Moore's Esther Waters


Gaining Admission to Hospital
Giving Birth


11. Hands-on Medical Training: An Introduction to Selections from Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage


The Medical Students
The Outpatient Clinic


12 A Woman Doctor? An Introduction to Selections from Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor


Enter Dr. Leslie
Practical Men versus Theorists
Nan, the Young "Assistant and Attendant"
"A Proper Vocation for Women"?
Risking a Woman's Happiness?
"A Silly Notion"?
Another Voice of Opposition
Setting a Dislocated Shoulder


13. A Shocking Discovery! An Introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Doctors of Hoyland"


"The Doctors of Hoyland"


14. Starting Up in Practice: An Introduction to Selections from Daniel W. Cathell's Book on the Physician Himself


Too Many Doctors
The Office
How to Dress
Limitation of Practice
Collecting Fees


Further Historical and Literary Readings

An anthology of nineteenth-century literature about medicine and medical issues.


Medical Progress and Social Reality is an anthology of nineteenth-century literature on medicine and medical practice. Situated at the interdisciplinary juncture of medicine, history, and literature, it includes mostly fictional but also some nonfictional works by British, French, American, and Russian writers that describe the day-to-day social realities of medicine during a period of momentous change. Issues addressed in these works include the hierarchy in the profession, the use of new instruments such as the stethoscope, the advent of women doctors, the function of the hospital, and the shifting balance of power between physicians and patients. The volume provides an introductory overview of the most important aspects of medical progress in the nineteenth century, and it includes an annotated bibliography of further readings in medical history and literature. Selections from Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, Sarah Orne Jewett, Sinclair Lewis, Mikhail Bulgakov, and others are included, as well as the American Medical Association's 1847 Code of Ethics.

Lilian R. Furst is Marcel Bataillon Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her previous books include Through the Lens of the Reader: Explorations of European Narrative and Home Is Somewhere Else: Autobiography in Two Voices (coauthored with Desider Furst), both published by SUNY Press; and Between Doctors and Patients: The Changing Balance of Power.


"The first such resource of its kind for the study of medicine in literature. Furst's introductions and selections show that nineteenth-century literature can help students understand current medical practice because it portrays the beginnings of technological and scientific medicine, with problems, values, situations, and relationships that are still with us today. " — Peter W. Graham, coauthor of Articulating the Elephant Man: Joseph Merrick and His Interpreters

"Lilian Furst has produced a welcome and useful addition to the growing field of medical humanities. Premedical and medical students as well as doctors with an interest in medical literature and history will find this a delightful and informative read. " — Larry Zaroff, M. D., Stanford University School of Medicine