Pain without Cause

Diana Rose Newby // …if the only external sign of the felt-experience of pain (for which there is no alteration in the blood count, no shadow on the X ray, no pattern on the CAT scan) is the patient’s verbal report (however itself inadequate), then to bypass the voice is to bypass the bodily event,…

The Epigenetics of Trauma

Diana Rose Newby // The growth of the memory culture may, indeed, be a symptom of a need for inclusion in a collective membrane forged by a shared inheritance of multiple traumatic histories and the individual and social responsibility we feel toward a persistent and traumatic past … (Hirsch 111) What does it mean to…

Rethinking the “Living Brain”

Diana Rose Newby // Thirty-two disembodied brains are injected with a blood substitute. Hours after its host body’s death, each brain begins showing signs of life. If this sounds like the stuff of science fiction, it’s not without good reason. Last month’s news that a Yale University research team had revived cellular function in the…

Special Issue Review: Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein

Diana Rose Newby // Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein, theme issue of Literature and Medicine, vol. 36, no. 2, fall 2018. In her introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley concludes with well wishes for her creation’s second life: “And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper” (25). Today,…

Monstrous Myths of Disability in M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass

Diana Rose Newby // Warning: This piece contains mild spoilers for the film Glass. Difference is the bread and butter of the superhero genre. And to a degree, so is disability. Think X-Men’s paraplegic Professor X; the blindness and depression of Marvel’s Daredevil; the facial scarring that catalyzes Harvey Dent’s murderous mental illness; Iron Man’s super-powered…

Intersex Erasure & the Myth of the “One True Sex”

Diana Rose Newby // My place was not marked out in this world that shunned me, that had cursed me. (Barbin 3) Content Warning: suicide, sexual abuse Herculine Barbin was twenty-one when she was forced to change her sex. Assigned female at her birth in 1838 in southwestern France, Barbin grew up identifying as such until…

Fevered Bodies in Early Victorian Fiction & Medicine

Diana Rose Newby // On October 24, 1840, the British Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal published a piece by physician James Eager on “continued fevers”: afflictions which he insists “more justly merit the patient investigations of observers” than any other known disease (57). What makes these maladies so difficult to diagnose or treat, according to…