This is the first study to examine the representation of illness, disability, and cultural pathologies in modern and contemporary Iberian and Latin American literature. Innovative and interdisciplinary, the collection situates medicine as an important and largely overlooked discourse in these literatures, while also considering the social, political, religious, symbolic, and metaphysical dimensions underpinning illness. Investigating how Hispanic and Lusophone writers have reflected on the personal and cultural effects of illness, it raises central questions about how medical discourses, cultural pathologies, and the art of healing in general are represented. Essays pay particular attention to the ways in which these interdisciplinary dialogues chart new directions in the study of Hispanic and Lusophone cultures, and emerging disciplines such as the medical humanities. Addressing a wide range of themes and subjects including bioethics, neuroscience, psychosurgery, medical technologies, Darwinian evolution, indigenous herbal medicine, the rising genre of the pathography, and the ‘illness as metaphor’ trope, the collection engages with the discourses of cultural studies, gender studies, disability studies, comparative literature, and the medical humanities. This book enriches and stimulates scholarship in these areas by showing how much we still have to gain from interdisciplinary studies working at the intersections between the humanities and the sciences.
1. Introduction: Medical Humanities Perspectives on Iberian and Latin American Literature Patricia Novillo-Corvalán 2. Explorers of the Human Brain: The Neurological Insights of Borges and Ramón y Cajal Patricia Novillo-Corvalán 3. The Anti-Diagnostics of Júlio Dinis and the Medical Hubris of Egas Moniz Susanne Black 4. Oculists and other Modern Visionaries: Epistemological Myopia in José Fernández Bremón’s Un crimen científico Rocío Rødtjer 5. Emilia Pardo Bazán and the Diagnosis of Cultural Diseases Anne W. Gilfoil 6. Darwinism and Identity: Evolution, Science, and Medicine in Aluísio Azevedo’s O mulato Elizabeth A. Marchant 7. Simon Bolívar’s Illness in Gabriel García Márquez’s The General in His Labyrinth Olivia Vázquez Medina 8. Healing the Family in Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate Debra D. Andrist 9. Health and/as Sickness in the Fiction of Julio Cortázar Dominic Moran 10. Asthma and its Symbolism: The Respiratory Aesthetics of José Lezama Lima William Rowlandson 11. Illness and Utopia in Alejo Carpentier’s The Lost Steps and Severo Sarduy’s Beach Birds Guillermina De Ferrari 12. Calligraphies of Illness in Contemporary Catalan Culture: The Power of Metaphor Montserrat Lunati