Review of Lindsey Fitzharris’s The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

Livia Arndal Woods Lindsey Fitzharris’s 2017 The Butchering Art is a compelling medical biography of Joseph Lister, pioneer of antiseptic surgical theory and practice. Lister’s work, building on the germ-theories of Louis Pasteur, “Transform[ed] the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine” from a chaotic and deadly battle against seemingly inevitable infections to a more systematic and... Continue Reading →

Two Babies, Two Fathers, One Pregnancy: Superfetation in Myth and Medicine

According to early modern gynecological manuals, superfetation is “a repeated conception”—a rare but real medical phenomenon when a woman who is already pregnant becomes pregnant again. The anonymous author of The English Midwife Enlarged (1682) responds to those who dispute superfetation, explaining that when a woman is “animated with an earnest desire of Copulation,” the “overheated”... Continue Reading →

Speculative bodies of the present in hormonal fictions

Kathryn Cai Recently, a series of English language novels that foreground the female body reimagine and transform their hormonal traffic from biologies linked with environmental illness to speculative imaginations of diffused, inchoate influence and overt physical and political power. As studies note, the female body’s hormonal complexities render its porous interactions with the environment particularly... Continue Reading →

The Long Read: Genetic Vulnerability

Sarah E. Roth The Genetics Department at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. displays hundreds of pamphlets in the waiting room, stacked at every corner table. Some of them I recognize, having revised them back in the office. The pamphlets have titles like: What is My Family Tree Telling Me? and PKU and You.... Continue Reading →

Cyborgs Pt. 2: Cellular Agencies in Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea

Kathryn Cai Reviews of Chang-rae Lee’s 2014 novel On Such a Full Sea note its “bureaucratic aesthetic,”[1] its unsatisfactory narrative trajectory in which nothing seems to build, and Fan as an opaque, “monochromatic,”[2] and ultimately unsatisfactory heroine lacking in interiority,[3] particularly compared to the “adventure” heroines, such as Katniss Everdeen, that populate conventional heroic and dystopic... Continue Reading →

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