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Illness as Many Narratives"Arts, Medicine and Culture"$
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Stella Bolaki

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402422

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402422.001.0001

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Illness as Many Narratives

Illness as Many Narratives

(p.1) Introduction Illness as Many Narratives
Illness as Many Narratives

Stella Bolaki

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction provides an overview of illness narratives and illness narrative scholarship, focusing on the contested territory of narrative. Illness narratives, in the first wave of medical humanities, are restricted to narratives of a certain type: the linear, progressive, story bound by the context of biomedicine and the doctor-patient encounter, which largely serve the needs of medicine. Building on the work of literary/cultural studies critics and medical humanities scholars who have challenged the instrumental direction of the medical humanities, the Introduction suggests that it is a timely moment to expand the field’s scope and existing approaches so as to make it more critical. Arguing for the inclusion of different arts and media and putting forward the idea of ‘critical interloping,’ it calls for more cross-fertilisation between contemporary arts and media practices/scholarship on the one hand and the fields of illness narratives and the medical humanities on the other. The final section of the Introduction describes the book’s chapter structure. It shows how the selected case studies open up the illness narrative category while also addressing some of its limits and conservative assumptions from within; that is, through the works’ own generic multiplicity and mixed-media nature.

Keywords:   critical interloping, illness narrative, illness as many narratives, critical medical humanities, illness and cultural studies, limits of illness narratives, contemporary arts and illness

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