Abstract

The article introduces “the visceral novel reader” as a diachronic, context-sensitive mode of novelistic reception, in which fact and fiction overlap cognitively: the mental rehearsal of the activity of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching while reading novels and, vice versa, the mental rehearsal of novels in the act of perceiving the real world. Located at the intersection of literature, medicine and science, “the visceral novel reader” enhances our understanding of the role that novels played in the dialectic construction of erudition in English. In Georgian Britain, reading practices became a testing ground for the professionalization of physicians, natural philosophers, and men of letters. While it was in the professionals’ common interest to implement protocols that taught readers to separate body from mind, and fact from fiction, novels came to stand for “debased” (visceral) reading. Novels inverted these notions by means of medicalization (regimentation, somatization, and individuation) and contributed to the professional stratification of medicine and literature.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 341-369
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.