The Vanishing Self: Representations of Consumption in Nineteenth Century Literature and Medicine

5 marzo 2019
Versione stampabile

Ore 18:00
Dove:  Aula Seminari Collegio Bernardo Clesio - via S. Margherita, 13 - 38122 Trento

Ever since antiquity, the illness we know today as ‘tuberculosis’ has been the focus of some important reflections not only by doctors and patients, but also by many artists, novelists and poets.

In this seminar, we will try to analyse some of the reasons that turned tuberculosis (or ‘consumption’, as it was more commonly called in English before 1882) into the most significant illness of the 19th century, as Susan Sontag famously argued in her essay Illness as Metaphor (1978). 

By focusing on the metaphors and narratives that accompany the representation of the 19th-century consumptive body in medical case studies as well as in novels, poetry and the visual arts, we will show in what ways consumption was construed as an illness that, paradoxically, makes the self ‘interesting’ and special at the moment of its vanishing away.

While investigating 19th-century theories and beliefs about consumption, the seminar will also seek to offer a broader reflection on the importance of recognising the metaphorical aspects of illnesses as well as the complex implications inherent in the relation doctor-patient in modern culture. 

  • Greta Perletti  è Assistant Professor of English Literature, Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi di Trento.

È richiesta la prenotazione online entro il 28 febbraio 2019.

La conferenza, inserita nel programma culturale organizzato a favore degli Allievi del Collegio Bernardo Clesio, si terrà in lingua inglese ed è aperta all’intera comunità universitaria e cittadina.

Ingresso libero fino a esaurimento posti. Capienza: 40 persone.