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Poetics of PalliationRomantic Literary Therapy, 1790-1850$
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Birttany Pladek

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786942210

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786942210.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

From John Stuart Mill to the Medical Humanities

From John Stuart Mill to the Medical Humanities

(p.65) Chapter Two From John Stuart Mill to the Medical Humanities
Poetics of Palliation

Brittany Pladek

Liverpool University Press

This chapter traces therapeutic holism from German Romanticism through Victorian proponents of cultural education, represented by John Stuart Mill, down to its contemporary manifestation in the work of major literary health humanists like Rita Charon, Cheryl Mattingly, and Kathryn Montgomery Hunter. It also explains the relationship of therapeutic holism to its sibling discourses, New Criticism and Millian liberalism. The former’s holistic, unified work of art parallels the latter’s proper citizen—a whole person whose wholeness is created and restored by cultural education. These linked discourses helped secure therapeutic holism’s place in interdisciplinary conversations about why medicine needs literature. The final section of the chapter critiques therapeutic holism and explains why palliative poetics offer a necessary corrective, using the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge to illustrate the heterogeneity of Romantic literary therapies. It also surveys complementary recent work within the health humanities. Health humanists working in fields like nursing, chronic pain, and palliative care have begun to develop palliative poetics that do not expect literature to cure.

Keywords:   medical humanities, narrative medicine, New Criticism, John Stuart Mill, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, palliative care

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