Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Faculty Course: Literature and medicine

  • Number of credits 7.5 credits

About the course

Do poets make better doctors? Is literature healthy? Should literary characters be diagnosed? This course explores the relationship of literature and medicine and questions such as these by reading and discussing a range of literary and theoretical texts.

In "On Being Ill," Virginia Woolf wrote that "English, which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear, has no words for the shiver and the headache. . . . let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry." Yet illness narratives are now an established literary genre. Furthermore, some argue that knowledge of literature and narrative help doctors understand their patients and their symptoms better. This course will explore a range of issues involved in the intersection of literature and medicine. We will look at, for example, the use of literature in the study and practice of medicine and medical treatment, what is at stake in diagnosing literary characters, and the kinds of literary forms illness has shaped.

The medium of instruction is English.

Contact us

Please be aware that the University is a public authority and that what you write here can be included in an official document. Therefore, be careful if you are writing about sensitive or personal matters in this contact form. If you have such an enquiry, please call us instead. All data will be treated in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.