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Representing EpilepsyMyth and Matter$
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Jeannette Stirling

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312373

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316173

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From Hippocrates to Shakespeare and Dickens: epilepsy's entry into ‘the circuit of culture’

From Hippocrates to Shakespeare and Dickens: epilepsy's entry into ‘the circuit of culture’

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 From Hippocrates to Shakespeare and Dickens: epilepsy's entry into ‘the circuit of culture’
Source:
Representing Epilepsy
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846316173.002

This chapter describes the cultural narratives of epilepsy in the mid-twentieth century. It considers the medical-cultural languages of epilepsy from Hippocrates through to William Shakespeare, William Gowers, and Charles Dickens. It also reviews the textual play between different narrative genres. This chapter suggests an archaeology of those signifying systems and narrative relationships that have come together over time to inscribe epilepsy with meaning within western medical-cultural systems. It argues that ‘the epileptics’ produced through the genealogies presented are not the same epileptics.

Keywords:   epilepsy, Hippocrates, William Shakespeare, William Gowers, Charles Dickens, textual play, narrative genres, western medical-cultural systems, epileptics

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