Narrating Patienthood and Illness in Indian Medical Literature
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Figures
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This book has been in the works for a long time. All the while, I have acquired many debts, and I am happy to begin to repay them here by thanking those people and institutions that helped me in the process of researching, writing, and editing this book. To begin, I want to thank two...
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Note on Transliteration, Pronunciation, and Translation
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Chapter 1: Introduction: Narrativizing the Body
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Everyone gets sick. Physical and mental fluctuations between wellness and illness are par for the course of being human. Types of illness are too numerous to count, yet the ways that people ail usually happen in three ways: psychologically, somatically, and psychosomatically. This book is about what..
Chapter 2: The Patient’s Body in Indian Medical Literature
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The Sanskrit word åyurveda means “knowledge for long life.” This translation reveals the objective (longevity), the means for achieving that objective (knowledge), and the breadth of coverage (life) of the medical system it so names: ≈yurveda. Nothing less than the life of the human organism—a four-part aggregate composed of body, sense organs, mind, and self—...
Chapter 3: Fever
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Few diseases in Sanskrit medical literature are more forbidding than fever (jvara). In Chapter 2 I explained that in the literature of classical ≈yurveda, diseases typically assail just the body, just the mind, or just the sense organs. The Carakasaṃhitå advances this general principle with few exceptions. Fever,..
Chapter 4: Miscarriage
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To what extent do we control the ways we use our bodies when we act in the world? Are our actions deliberate? Do we act with complete and mindful intention? Or are our actions products of an ever-present social programming, an...
Chapter 5: The King’s Disease
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Like the narratives of fever and miscarriage in the previous two chapters, the ayurvedic narrative of the “king’s disease” (råjayakṣman) that I examine in the present chapter portrays a pathology in which an ethical transgression brings about a biophysical affliction. The affliction in this case severely emaciates the body by drying up its vital fluids and attenuating its tissues...
Chapter 6: The Joy of Life of Ānandarāyamakhin
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Medical narratives in Indian medical literature both reflect and direct social perceptions of disease. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in ≈nandaråyamakhin’s (hereafter ≈nandaråya) seven-act allegory, The Joy of Life (J¥vånandanam). As in Chapter 5, in this chapter the king’s disease is..
Chapter 7: Conclusion: Medical Narratives and the Narrativized Patient
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Each of the medical narratives in the preceding chapters in its own way formulates a chain of causation linking self-understanding and action to illness and well-being. From these narratives we learn that a person’s grasp of his or her social and religious roles, collectively captured in the notion...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012