Bodily Pain in Romantic Literature
To Be Published February 17th 2014 by Routledge – 228 pages
Series: Routledge Studies in Romanticism
This book brings to light the significance of bodily pain for the literature, philosophy, and science of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. When writers of the Romantic period explored the implications of physical and mental sensitivity, bodily hurt gave rise to troubling but irresistible questions. This book looks back to the medical debates of the 1740s that made pain central to philosophical thinking about the nature of life, and forward to the development of surgical anaesthesia in 1846, when it was revealed for the first time that the processes of life could be separated altogether from feeling. Davies brings Romantic studies in conversation with the recent work in medical anthropology that offers a fresh understanding of the pain of the body. Extending ongoing debates about literature and medicine in the Romantic era, he argues that for a number of Romantic-period writers, pain became central to ethical thinking about the singularity or separateness of individual people.
Jeremy Davies is lecturer at the University of Leeds, UK.