Upon the Arraignment, Condemnation, and Execution of Elizabeth Stile, 1579

Kate Bolton Bonnici // Elizabeth Stile was executed in England for witchcraft in February 1579. In what follows, I consider an anonymous “news of the day” pamphlet about her case, using critical poetry as scholarly method. (This pamphlet is part of a larger genre of 16th/17th-century writing on witchcraft trials.) I concentrate on the description…

The Beast Within: Mental Illness in Arto Paasilinna’s The Howling Miller

Avril Tynan // Throughout the nineteenth century, degeneration theory associated certain behaviours and physical and psychological pathologies with a pseudo-Darwinian atavism of primitive traits and characteristics. One need only think of Émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, and particularly his 1890 novel La bête humaine (The Beast in Man or The Beast Within), to note the parallels…

Light and Shadows: On Care and Loss

Sarah Roth // My mother and I divide up her Hospice bags: two nondescript fanny packs holding morphine, liquids, and nutrition. Artifacts of the land of the critically ill, they are contraband here in the clinic.

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…

Special Issue Review: Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein

Diana Rose Newby // Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein, theme issue of Literature and Medicine, vol. 36, no. 2, fall 2018. In her introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley concludes with well wishes for her creation’s second life: “And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper” (25). Today,…

The Invention of “Greek” Medicine

Calloway Scott // Early histories of medicine in the west typically traced the “invention” of scientific medicine to the “Greek miracle” of the Classical era (500-323 BCE). That this historiographic narrative—offering contemporary medical method and thought a compelling and authoritative origin—suited a wide variety of 19th and early 20th century interests is hardly surprising. Positivist histories of…

Embodied Post-colonialism — Part 1

Sneha Mantri // If you pick up your favorite world literature anthology and turn to the table of contents, you’ll notice immediately that the authors are categorized with startling precision. “Here,” the editors seem to say, “are the British writers, and in this corner we have the Africans—an entire continent’s worth! — and we’ve also…