Masturbation as Creation in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Cynthia Harris   Despite the classic cinematic image of animation by lightning strike, the creation sequence in the original novel version of Frankenstein is much more intimate, more biological than electrical or even scientific. There is a striking absence of scientific instruments in Frankenstein’s “workshop of filthy creation” (78). Instead, Frankenstein’s focus is on the... Continue Reading →

New Events November 12-18

To post an event, write to aah2155[at]columbia.edu. Books, Health and History: New York Academy of Medicine New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Ave at 103rd St Nov 14: Unable to Breathe: Race, Asthma, and the Environment in Civil Rights Era New Orleans and New York, 6pm-7:30pm. New group: Medical Humanities at Humanities Commons For... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

New Events: Week of November 5-11

To post a new event, write to aah2155[at]columbia.edu. Books, Health, and History New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Ave at 103rd St Nov 6: First Monday Tour. Join us on the first Monday of every month (excluding holidays) to see highlights from the collection in the Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading... Continue Reading →

The Anti-Disability of Anti-Vaccination

During my final year of undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, I was studying at a café and had with me Seth Mnookin’s controversial new book, The Panic Virus.[1]  While I was reading, I was approached by a woman who happened to be waiting for her order by my table. Intrigued by... Continue Reading →

What Does Defamiliarization Make Happen?

Anna Fenton-Hathaway I learned the literary term “defamiliarization” years after it had upended a tiny part of my worldview. Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877), narrated by the horse of the title, was the vehicle for that early upending. One particularly heart-rending chapter meant that for years I could not look at a horse without being... Continue Reading →

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