Call for papers
special issue of JMEMS
Edited by Marion Turner
Volume 46 / Number 1 / January 2016
Medical language permeated all kinds of texts in premodern Europe, including legal, literary, devotional, political, autobiographical, and philosophical writings; equally medical writings drew on a range of discursive practices, often employing ostentatiously literary narrative techniques. Many modern thinkers, most famously Susan Sontag, have written about the effect of metaphors in medical writings and about the practice of narrativizing illness. In premodern cultures, too, authors were profoundly aware of the problems inherent in trying to write about suffering and of the limitations of metaphorical language. At the same time, many writers saw opportunities in the richness, polysemy, and (sometimes) novelty of medical language and deployed it in diverse genres with subtle and complex effects. This special issue focuses on how medical discourse in premodern Europe interacted with other discourses and within different genres. Essays might explore how and why writers used the language of the medicalized body, the metaphorical or scientific depiction of particular organs in the body, the way medical language is deployed alongside other discourses, or the interplay between contemporary theorizations about medical language and premodern texts.
As a whole, the issue will demonstrate some of the ways in which current work in medieval and early modern studies has an important place in the fields of medical humanities and literature and medicine.
Deadline for submission of manuscripts: November 1, 2014