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Title: Miasmas, mosquitoes, and microscopes : parasitology and the British literary imagination, 1885-1935
Author: Taylor-Brown, Emilie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 8663
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the complex and multi-form exchanges between parasitology and the British literary imagination in the period 1885 to 1935. This fifty-year period, which takes the institutionalisation of parasitology as its mid-point, was a significant cultural moment, witnessing the diversification of medicine into research specialisms. In the case of parasitology, this increasing specialisation was accompanied, seemingly paradoxically, by what we would now call interdisciplinarity. Parasitologists consciously engaged with literary myths of nationhood in order to garner widespread support for their sub-field, and help communicate their research. Meanwhile they provided the public with significant motifs for exploring a variety of social, cultural, and political relationships. Literary authors’ engagement with disciplinary politics provided them with a means of interrogating British national identity and critiquing or supporting British imperial rule. The dialogues between parasitology and the British literary imagination in this period ultimately articulated anxieties concerning “self” and “other” at the biological, psychological, and ideological levels. As I will argue, the parasite-host relationship became a significant framework for understanding identity, and consequently was deeply embedded in, and inseparable from, understandings of what it meant to be British in an increasingly global world. In order to access the dialogues between parasitology and the British literary imagination, I will use a variety of sources, including: literary fiction, poetry, satire, newspaper articles, personal correspondence between doctors, parasitologists’ research diaries, and scientific publications. In analysing this dialogue, which might be taken as a case study of wider literature-science relationships in this time period, we gain a greater understanding of the politics of narrating science. Building on previous work in the burgeoning field of literature and science studies, this thesis will seek to explore the utility of interdisciplinary approaches to research and communication, investigate the processes behind the public understanding of science, and interrogate the cultural and historical framing of science.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wolfson Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature