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,…

Memory is a Winged Horse: On Sea Monsters, Labyrinths, and the Brain

Fernanda Pérez Gay Juárez, translated from Spanish by Álvaro García // “Hippocampus” is the scientific name for the seahorse, an S-shaped fish with ringed, bony plates and a dorsal crest. Its tail is long, prehensile and coiled in spiral, and its head resembles that of a horse. Before reproducing, two seahorses intertwine in an eight-hour…

Slow Violence and Its Bearing on the Chronic

Raghav K. Goyal // I. The chronic and the acute Today’s American healthcare system is built to address the acute. Healthcare professionals medically lower blood pressures and blood sugars, crack open sterna, excise, break and reattach, detain, cut, laparoscopically solder and burn and fuse. Expensive machines, well-compensated workers. As a community, we respond to the…

Mother-tales: otherness and doubt in the neonatal intensive care unit

Emily Wheater // Recently in Synapsis, Jessica M.E. Kirwan discussed the portrayal by male, Enlightenment-era physicians of mothers in obstetric texts and images. William Hunter’s illustrations of pregnant bodies are deeply dehumanising in their presentation of butchered female bodies, and gradually stripping away the mother’s body altogether leaving just the uterus behind. What a wonderful…

Parenting in Public, from Passivity to Peace

Mira Assaf Kafantaris and Alicia Andrzejewski Introduction Is the affective experience of public parenting a health concern, a concern for the medical humanities? Certainly, the constant surveillance of parents, mothers in particular, is born out of care and concern for the well-being of children. This surveillance and the interventions/invasions it inspires, however, result in a…

Compelling Associations: Kay Redfield Jamison on the Artistic Temperament in Manic-Depressive Illness

Amala Poli // One of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive illness in the world [1], Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, attempts to address a compelling association between artistic and manic-depressive temperaments through a literary, biographical, and scientific argument (5). Since the late eighteenth century, the glamorization of certain types…

Review: The Undying

Josh Franklin // Review of Anne Boyer. The Undying. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. The Undying is a powerful memoir by poet Anne Boyer, describing her diagnosis of breast cancer and her subsequent treatment. Boyer struggles against the narrative confines of the illness experience as conventional and medicalized, writing, “I do not want to tell the…