Honors | Literature and Medicine
L240 | 1878 | Woodcock, J


This section is a COAS Intensive Writing section and also
requires registration in COAS W333 Section #0259

Above section meets with HON H226

This course is devoted to literary works that feature cultural issues,
interpersonal situations, and problems of values or ethics that are
characteristic of modern medicine. Students from any discipline who have an
interest in medicine are encouraged to consider the course.

Being sick and healing the sick are experiences that can reach well beyond
technical and narrow professional matters to engage our emotions, our
metaphysics, and our moral and ethical sense. In this course we will explore
these important non-technical dimensions of medicine by reading and
discussing a selection of literary and autobiographical works that emphasize
the cultural and personal aspects of illness and medical practice. Most of
our authors are doctors or patients, and some are both.

The reading list is not completely decided, but it will include most of the
following books and perhaps one or two others, and a collection of short
readings: Virginia Axline Dibs, In Search of Self; Normal Cousins, Anatomy
of an Illness; Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the people; Perri Klass, A Not
Entirely Benign Procedure; Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Illych; Joyce
Wadler, my Breast; and William Carlos Williams, The Doctor Stories. We will
also see one or two films with medical themes/.

This course is a COAS intensive writing section, and writing will be a major
part of the semester's work. There will be four papers of 1000-1200 words,
several shorter written exercises, and probably a final exam. For grading
purposes, each paper will be worth 15%, the exam 20%, and the exercises and
class contribution will add 20%.