Aging Romanticism

Lesley Thulin // William Wordsworth’s pronouncement that the child is the “father of the Man” is perhaps the clearest articulation of British Romanticism’s revaluation of childhood (Wordsworth “My Heart Leaps Up” 7). For Wordsworth, childhood holds critical purchase over adulthood, priming the mind’s receptivity to nature as well as the creative faculty. Wordsworth’s autobiographical epic…

The Cult of the Invalid: Industrial Underpinnings

Sneha Mantri // In the first part of this three part essay, I examined the Enlightenment origins of “nervous illness” as a reaction to the development of rationalist scientific development. “Nerves” and neurasthenia challenged medicine’s increasingly mechanistic view of the body, and of illness as the breakdown of the body’s machinery. In this section, I…

Turning to the Structural in the Health Humanities

Gabi Schaffzin // I remember being at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in 2014 when Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe gave one of the keynotes. The Yale-educated former investment banker was explaining how the healthcare related portfolio that she had managed in her past life actually profited from people getting sick; she…

Neurodiverse Reading

Ittai Orr // In See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (Duke Univ. Press, 2018), Ralph Savarese writes that literature is a kind of social medicine, that it represents a “way of restoring relation” (193). There is no better illustration of this power of literature—or rather, of a…

Free Indirect Diagnosis: Reading Alongside the Doctor in Middlemarch

Livia Arndal Woods // One of the techniques par excellence associated with the nineteenth-century novel is free indirect discourse, a literary device in which the cadences of a character’s interior, subjective voice are mapped onto an authoritative, third-person narrative voice. For example,”Ella thought Susan’s dress was silly” rendered in free indirect discourse might read more…

Painful Memories and Memorable Pain

Gabi Schaffzin // The following contains spoilers for Amazon’s Homecoming series. Proceed with caution. I’ve been thinking a lot about memory. This started after I recently finished bingeing on the Amazon series, Homecoming, a quick but worthwhile watch for the psychological-thriller fan in all of us. Briefly, the show, directed by Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail,…

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…

Scientific Typography

If you are a formally trained graphic designer, it’s unlikely that you have not heard of Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style, most recently updated to its fourth edition in 2012. Originally published 20 years earlier, the work is filled with answers to the book designer’s common conundrums: typeface choices, page arrangements, knowledge of…

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…