Apocalypse, Cyborgs, and Gender (Pt. 1)

Kathryn Cai As a recent New York Times article notes, apocalyptic narratives—in the form of natural disasters and conflict with North Korea, for instance—and survivalist responses to it are on the rise in popular US discourses.[1] This tongue-in-cheek article notes that survivalism is gaining traction in young, affluent culture, “where the bombproof bunker has replaced…

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…

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…

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….

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…

Revaluing Illness: Virginia Woolf’s “On Being Ill”

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Recently republished by Paris Press, Virginia Woolf’s meditation from the sickbed first appeared in T.S. Eliot’s The Criterion in January 1926. In this short reflection, I want to consider how Woolf offers us an early model for a patient-centered narrative medicine that challenges reductive assumptions about sickness as a state…