Sick Novels and Sick Readers and Sick Nations II

tricia’s note: this is my work–my research, my writing, the wrinkles around my eyes caused by all the  squinting that do as I read unpublished manuscripts (often in cold archives where no one lets me drink tea while I work)–so if you discuss it, reference it, or want to talk about it in your own work please give me credit.

I was pretty happy with my ICR paper, and I especially appreciated the smart questions and reading recommendations I got during the Q&A and for the rest of the weekend (this really was a fabulous conference–intellectually stimulating without being oppressively aggressive).  Since getting back from the conference, I’ve spent the time I would normally spend writing sorting through the essays, manuals, and scraps of papers with book titles scrawled on them.  It’s been helpful as I move towards drafting the introductory chapter next month.

One thing I’m wrestling with is how I move between the terms “science,” “medicine”, and “disease.” They are linked but, of course, distinct.  I think I’m writing about science in some chapters (the Valperga chapter and the Woman of Colour, A Tale chapter) and medicine in others (the Belinda chapter and the Adeline Mowbray chapter), and it feels as if I’m writing about disease in a few chapters (the Belinda chapter and the Valperga chapter). Perhaps disease is more a metaphor, or perhaps it’s too broad  Breast feeding, phrenology, abolitionist science, diet: those seem to be the four areas I’m thinking about (I’m feeling rather ambivalent about diet and Adeline Mowbray and suspect I just want to write about indigestion and Adeline’s gassy husband).

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