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Syllabus for Literature and Medicine 2016
VA New Jersey Health Care System – Lyons Campus
March - May 2016 Lyons VA Hospital Scholar: Meredith Sue Willis Hospital Liaison: Ana Paiva
New Jersey Council on the Humanities liaison is Mary Grace Whealan
Literature & Medicine is a program partnership
between the New Jersey Council for the Humanities
(http://njch.org) and VA New Jersey Health Care Systems.
2014 Literature and Medicine syllabus, check here.
2015 Literature and Medicne syllabus
Welcome to the 2016 Edition of
Literature and Medicine!
Session I, Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Why Literature and Medicine?
Above, Dr. Oliver Sacks. Below right, Sacks as a young man.
Today: Organization of the sessions; why we read and what we read; literature as an important way to deal with Big Topics; links between mental and physical health; caretaking and war in the the human condition.
Things to Read:
Dr. Sacks on his life: “I would like it to be thought that I had listened carefully to what patients and others have told me....that I’ve tried to imagine what it was like for them, and that I tried to convey this. And, to use a biblical term.... “bore witness.”
Chapter One from The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks: "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, " (pp. 1-21).
Session II, Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Ana found an amusing youtube supporting empathy over sympathy
The Social Stigma of Illness and More
Why are Oliver Sacks's essays so moving to many readers?
Do we still stigmatize certain illnesses or physical/mental states?
Are there other kinds of stigmas? Do returned Veterans bear a stigma? How different is that from the poem "The Scar" or cancer seen as a death sentence?
Susan Sontag left; Emilia Phillips below right
Chapters Two and Three from The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks: "The Lost Mariner" and "The Disembodied Lady," (pp 22-55) .
Selections from Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor (Introduction to Susan Sontag's Illness at Metaphor--Chapters 1 -2, pp 3 - 20.) Disease in our thinking: upscale diseases, downscale diseases.
Session III: Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Challenges of Caretaking/Soldiers Returning
Phil Klay in the Middle
Chapters Five - Nine The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks: "Hands;" Phantoms;" "On the Level;" "Eyes Right" (pp 59 -79).
Short story by Phil Klay "OIF" (for military acronyms--but you probably should just read the story and learn as you go-- click here.)
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