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Three Studies in Literature and Medicine: Reading, Writing, Performance and Empathy

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Abstract

These essays may be seen as representing three main contemporary approaches to literature and medicine research: the educational, therapeutic and theoretical. Kabir Matharu’s piece discusses the applications of literary study in a medical education setting; Marilyn McIntyre’s piece shows the therapeutic value of poetry, and its unique ability to capture experiences of illness; and Masha Mimran’s piece uses literary criticism to interpret both medical and fictional texts. By grouping these three essays together, we hope to show the commonality and complementarity between research done by scholars in the Medical Humanities from disparate disciplinary backgrounds: all three attempt to break down the boundaries between medical diagnosis and lived human experience. One can best appreciate this project by keeping in mind the empathic process, which links the mind and body, intellect and emotion, creativity and interpretation.

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