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 →

23andMe as Modern Day Wunderkammer

  Whether collected on journeys around the world, bartered for with tradesmen dealing in wonders, or obtained as a gift, the objects within Renaissance Wunderkammern spanned an extremely wide spectrum—from antique busts to horns that could cure any ailment. Paintings and illustrations of these rooms show off large spaces filled to crowdedness with a plethora... Continue Reading →

Menopause: The Female Mummy’s Curse

Daisy Butcher The nineteenth century’s fascination with Egypt reached its apogee in the Mummy novel—from Jane Webb Loudon’s 1827 The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century, the first book to feature a reanimated Egyptian mummy, to Bram Stoker’s 1903 The Jewell of Seven Stars, the period abounded with literary representations of the reanimated dead.... Continue Reading →

Embodied Prisons

Sneha Mantri Little Dorrit is, above all, a novel about prisons.  In addition to the literal Marshalsea prison that is home for the Dorrit family in the first half of the novel, we are taken to the Circumlocution Office, a bureaucratic imprisonment of any sort of innovation, and the Clennam house, which Mrs. Clennam never... Continue Reading →

Lecture recap: “Silencing the Body: Hypnosis, Music, and Pain in the 19th Century”

With Joelle M. Abi-Rached, Céline Frigau Manning, Carmel Raz Sharing from her current book project on music and hypnosis, Professor Céline Frigau Manning (Associate Professor of Performance Studies and Italian at Université Paris 8 – Institut Universitaire de France) takes pain as the arena where the two subjects overlap. Hypnosis, she argues, encompasses at once... Continue Reading →

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