This article outlines a number of new approaches in the history of medicine and medical humanities to the study of medical case histories from a genre-theoretical vantage point. Differentiating between morphological and structuralist concepts of genre, the essay proposes the investigation of similarities and differences among specific series of case histories in order to recover evolving, changing, or decaying patterns and practices in texts and communicative acts about human health during different historical epochs, including antiquity, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian age. The article highlights the importance of narrative, and thinking in cases, supports the notion of “epistemic genres” and pays special attention to the distinction between example and exemplar. It discerns three interrelated functions of case histories: propaedeutic, instantiative, and singular. The study of case histories as genre helps to overcome disjunctions in the history of literature and medicine and enhances multidisciplinary research


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pp. vii-xvi
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