Embodied Post-colonialism — Part II

Sneha Mantri // In Part 1 of this essay on embodiment and postcolonial theory in VS Naipaul’s The Mimic Men, I looked at the protagonist Ralph’s relationship with his own body, which he progressively erases as the novel wears on. Here, I want to flip the lens outward and examine Ralph’s gaze on the female…

Embodied Post-colonialism — Part 1

Sneha Mantri // If you pick up your favorite world literature anthology and turn to the table of contents, you’ll notice immediately that the authors are categorized with startling precision. “Here,” the editors seem to say, “are the British writers, and in this corner we have the Africans—an entire continent’s worth! — and we’ve also…

Time, Perspective, and Minta’s Brooch

Sneha Mantri Narrative medicine is a critical and practical approach to medical humanities grounded in the close reading of creative works, and by extension, the clinical encounter. As a physician trained in narrative medicine, I am frequently asked by colleagues whether the chosen texts must be medical. The answer, of course, is that they need…

Heureusement

Sneha Mantri // In April 2009, France Alzheimer, a national organization created to “soutenir les malades et leur famille” (“support patients and their families”) released an advertisement entitled “Heureusement” (“Fortunately”).  The commercial, developed by the advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi Paris, stirred up a minor controversy in France due to its bleak and unrelenting portrayal…

Can Art Save? Liberal Humanism, Empathy, and the “Use” of Creativity — Part III

Sneha Mantri // This is the last in a 3-part series examining the “usefulness” of creativity through the lens of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go. Part 1 contextualized the students’ art as a manifestation of Romantic tropes; Part 2  took on the climactic, Gothic confrontation between the students and their former headmistress. This final section…

Can Art Save? Liberal Humanism, Empathy, and the “Use” of Creativity

Sneha Mantri // This is the first in a three-part series examining the “usefulness” of creativity through the lens of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go. Watch for Parts II and III later this spring. In Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro constructs a chilling alter world, in which individuals are cloned to…

The Unknowable Other: Intersubjectivity in Alias Grace

Sneha Mantri The facts are sparse. Grace Marks was born in Ireland around 1828, emigrated to Canada in 1840 with her family, and by 1843, aged barely fifteen, was sentenced to death for the murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear. Her story was sensationalized in the newspaper-tabloids of the day, then promptly forgotten. More than…

Carrie’s Story

Sneha Mantri On a spring morning ninety years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision on a landmark trial, Buck v Bell, declaring that forcible sterilization of so-called “degenerates” was not only permissible but imperative. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. justified the decision: “It is…

Hypochondria and the Struggle for Control

Sneha Mantri One of the best-known literary depictions of hypochondria is Molière’s medical play, Le Malade imaginaire, which is occupied with the struggle for power between Argan, the titular “invalid,” and those who surround him. One reading of Argan focuses on his victimhood, arguing that the character believes so completely in his own illness that…