Medical Humanities in American Studies

Life Writing, Narrative Medicine, and the Power of Autobiography

This book asks a seemingly simple question: How has the creation of new fields such as medical humanities and narrative medicine changed the humanities themselves, and American Studies more specifically? Turning to the genre of life writing, this study sets out to chart spaces in which a dialogue between the humanities and the life sciences can emerge. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, life writing narratives such as Tito Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Beyond the Silence’, Temple Grandin’s ‘Thinking in Pictures’, or Michael J. Fox’s ‘Lucky Man’ show that self-description has often become inseparable from biomedical terminology. Linking life writing narratives to discussions in bioethics and exploring the links between autobiography and brain research, this book sets out to wonder whether the divide between the “two cultures” of the humanities and the life sciences may not itself have become obsolete.

Sam Allen Wright in: Biography, Vol. 42:4 (2019), 873-876, DOI: 10.1353/bio.2019.0083