The Poetics of Palliation: Romantic Literary Therapy, 1790-1850 - Romantic Reconfigurations: Studies in Literature and Culture 1780-1850 8 (Hardback)Brittany Pladek (author)
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Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Number of pages: 296
Dimensions: 239 x 163 mm
'This erudite and beautifully written book stages a dialogue between historicist work on Romanticism and medicine, disability studies, and the emerging field of the health humanities. Starting from the premise that the Romantic period was the first to conceive of literature as the stuff of medical therapy, Pladek shows it was also the first to criticise a naive version of that view. In five crisp chapters, she shows how writers as diverse as Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, John Stuart Mill and Mary Shelley thought of literature as a palliative, not a cure, for human suffering. In each of these discussions, she reveals how romantic literature anticipated some of the most controversial ideas in the health humanities today, notably the notion that to be effective medicine must treat the whole person, and she also traces fascinating genealogies of a great many ideas in modern medicine that are assumed to have no romantic pedigree. The result is an interdisciplinary dialogue of the first order and a literary tour de force.'
Neil Vickers, University College London
`The Poetics of Palliation offers a serious and expert engagement with the field of the health humanities as a legacy of Romantic literature and criticism. Extensively researched, it will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested the relationship between those two areas, as well as in the intertwined genealogies of therapeutic holism, the New Criticism, and certain strains of liberalism. A reparative reader in the sense proposed by Eve Sedgwick, Pladek maintains her commitment to literature's ability to give and to model care, but without assuming that it can - or should - cure.'
Kevis Goodman, University of California, Berkeley