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Title: Everyday experiences of medicine and illness in the novels of Willkie Collins
Author: Williams, Helen
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2015
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Focusing on the novels of Wilkie Collins, this thesis identifies the ways in which Collins’s narratives outline the complex nature of layperson interactions with, and experiences of, medicine, healthcare and illness in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Drawing on a variety of contextual sources, ranging from letters, diaries and recipe books to newspaper articles, architectural plans and courtroom testimonies, the discussion uses Collins’s work alongside these documents to demonstrate that many of his middle-class readers would have encountered aspects of medicine and illness in a surprising array of settings, spaces, discourses and domains. In bringing these points of intersection to light, the thesis argues that Collins’s work stands as a substantial record of how the lay public energetically and intelligently engaged with medical matters – a point often overlooked – but also emphasises Collins’s own vibrant interest in medicine, bodies and illness. In so doing, the discussion is able to draw out new dimensions to Collins’s treatment of key themes, such as the relationships between bodies and gender, architecture and illness, and medicine and literature, and to provide new readings of a range of his major and lesser-known works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) ; College of Arts and Law Graduate School ; University of Birmingham
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature