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Title: The doctor-patient relationship and encounter in the nineteenth-century French novel
Author: Jones, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the representation of the doctor-patient relationship and encounter in the nineteenth-century French novel. It incorporates and compares a number of authors, most notably Honoré de Balzac, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, George Sand, Stendhal, and Émile Zola, as well as contemporary medical treatises and theses. Using a historicist approach to inform literary close readings, this thesis recreates the medical and scientific discourse which surrounded the nineteenth-century novel. It argues that the doctor-patient relationship and encounter can be understood as a way that the nineteenth-century French novel gains traction on contemporary medicine, since both foreground the extent to which medicine was understood as an art and practice as well as a science. The thesis argues that the difference between doctor-patient relationship and encounter was particularly useful for authors of the period. The doctor-patient relationship represents an ideal form of medicine; whereas the bedside medical encounter, as depicted in literature, offers readers a more dissonant conception of medicine. I argue that the doctor-patient relationship and encounter narrativize medicine in the nineteenth-century novel, allowing authors to present and interpret medicine as embedded within narrative. The doctor-patient relationship and encounter are particularly useful for the development of plot and characterization, despite or indeed because of the medical plot's peripherality to the novel. This thesis is not restricted to any singular field of medicine; it encompasses themes such as the figure of the country doctor, the history of gynaecology, tuberculosis, cholera, hysteria, and the medical authorisation of miracles. The thesis concludes with a discussion of monetized medical relationships. Overall, this thesis demonstrates that the doctor-patient relationship and encounter, and in particular the cleavage between them, is key to understanding the representation of contemporary medicine and science by the nineteenth-century French novel.
Supervisor: Manzini, Francesco Sponsor: Clore Duffield Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of Medicine ; Medical Humanities ; French