An interdisciplinary, medical humanities scholar, Dr. Schillace writes about cultural production, history of science, and intersections of medicine and literature. She is the managing editor of Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry and guest curator and blogger for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History. She is also the Chair of Communications for Death Salon, a conference featuring conversations on mortality and mourning practices. Dr. Schillace has taught Romantic poetry, Gothic novels and history of science–and has published articles on birthing technology in the 18th century, epilepsy in Gothic novels and syphilis in Dracula. She is presently helping to develop curriculum for the medical humanities program at Lerner College, Cleveland Clinic.
History, Medicine, Culture, and Fiction
I have been fascinated by the history of medicine since I was a child. I read Barbara Tuchman’s Distant Mirror–about the black plague outbreaks in the 14th century–when I was in the fourth grade, and my interest in the culture of disease has only grown since then. Ours is a ‘storied’ past; our health and our humanity is intertwined and inseparable. It is also true that diseases and even death may serve as catalysts for enormous bursts of creative expression. How do we grapple with mortality? With loss? How do we incorporate the medical understanding of our bodies into our personal realities? Even a cursory look at the history of artists’ anatomies will show you that the concept of the human body changed radically between the 16th and 18th century, mainly from dancing skeletons and live-action corpses to piecemeal and specialized anatomical ‘parts.’ Fiction novels like Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, and Dracula owe a lot to these stories–and so, believe it or not, do less obviously ‘medical’ stories. From Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, medical history has shaped creative expression–and the reverse is also true. It isn’t about to stop now!
These are the things that move me, and I am fortunate in my friends and colleagues who work in a fascinating array of disciplines (freelance and fiction, history of medicine, history of science, literature, library archives, art, media and even mortuary work). We are rogue scholars, branching out beyond the discipline specific and into the wide and welcoming plains of inter-disciplinarity. Fiction and literature, science and history, anthropology and religion: the world is more interesting at the intersection.
Recent posts may be viewed on the Blog Page. You can find out more about me at my website–and more about my published research and novels-in-process by visiting the page links above. Promoting the interstices of history, medicine, culture and fiction: the Fiction Reboot and Literary Medicine’s Daily Dose!
The FICTION REBOOT:
The Reboot provides useful tips and information for writers, weekly fiction features and interviews with authors of fiction and poetry. We seek to promote new talent as well as established authors and are happy to provide a platform for book launches and blog tours.
Literary Medicine’s DAILY DOSE:
The mission of the Dose is to honor, support, and share perspectives about medicine and humanities across cultures and disciplines. It is an increasingly inter-disciplinary world, and we are happy to promote those who–as academics, physicians, alt-acs, independent scholars, authors, and just plain curious and intrepid souls–add to our shared knowledge of medicine, literature, and the search for what it means to be human
Rogue Scholar Salon:
In conjunction with the companion blogs above, we offer the Rogue Scholar Salon (and attendant ‘seal of approval’) for those intellectuals, academics and artists working outside their ‘official’ disciplines.