Clinical Encounters? Narratives of Doctors and Patients from the Victorians to the Present Day

Module code: EN3199

This interdisciplinary module will introduce students to a wide range of writings about the relationship between the doctor and the patient from the Victorian period to the twenty-first century. What did it mean to be ill and how were the unwell treated by the medical profession? How, in turn, did the patient deal with medical or surgical prescription? Was the relationship between doctor and patient merely a clinical encounter? We will begin with the Victorian fetish for ill health, characterised by the sofa-languishing middle-class lady, and move on to the corresponding difficulty of publicly expressing mental illness in autobiographical writing of the time. Medical saints and sinners of the nineteenth and 20th centuries will be considered, alongside more recent explorations of the harmful effects of the doctor-patient encounter. Of central concern throughout will be the dynamic nature of the relationship between the medical profession and the patient. Visual representations, including film, will be utilised in order to illuminate the textual material.

Learning

  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 130 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Essay, 2,500 words (90%)
  • Historical case note analysis, 500 words (10%)