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Literature & Medicine

Literature and Medicine

The English department at King’s has a longstanding commitment to the study of literature and medicine, and the medical humanities more broadly, reflecting its position in a university with one of the largest and oldest medical schools in the world.  The department was the first to offer a dedicated MA programme in Literature and Medicine, now incorporated into an MSc in Medical Humanities.

Centre for the Humanities and Health

All of the literature and medicine group have close links with the Centre for the Humanities and Health.  Established in 2009 with funding from the Wellcome Trust and from King’s, the Centre aims to elucidate the experience of illness from the vantage point of the humanities.  Literature and literary study are key parts of its research into personal and cultural representations of health, disease, and medicine.  The Centre is pursuing a multi-stranded programme of research entitled The Boundaries of Illness, which engages scholars from arts, humanities and health disciplines (including literature, philosophy, history, visual arts, film studies, clinical psychology and psychiatry, nursing medical practice).  The specific strand in this programme devoted to literature is particularly concerned with illness narrative as a form of life-writing (and so also relates to the work of the Centre for Life-Writing Research).  The Centre (located in the East Wing of the Strand campus) has eight postdoctoral researchers, three of whom work on literary material, and nine funded PhD students.


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