Historians of medicine and science have long understood the cultural constructedness of concepts such as health and disease, nature, ecology and the environment. And for their part, literary scholars are very familiar with the medical and scientific topoi, images and metaphors which permeate medieval and early modern literary texts. But until recently, there has been little dialogue across disciplines which could genuinely inter-illuminate these several and separate fields of knowledge. This conference aims to contribute to the recent, burgeoning interest in interdisciplinary approaches to literature, science and medicine, as well as to stimulate new conversations and discoveries amongst scholars who may not have explored such an approach before.
We are pleased to announce the participation of six eminent, guest speakers : Vincent Barras (University of Lausanne), Margaret Healy (University of Sussex), Tony Hunt (University of Oxford), Eric Masserey (Lausanne), Jennifer Richards (Newcastle University) and Heirinch von Staden (Princeton University).
In particular, we are delighted to welcome the novelist and medical doctor Eric Masserey, whose recent prize-winning novel, Retour aux Indes, recounts the adventures of a clerk of the renowned early modern medical practitioner, Amatus Lusitanus. Dr Masserey will discuss his novel, in conversation with the distinguished polymath Professor Vincent Barras who is, amongst other things, a historian of medicine and a modern music critic. Together they will re-enact the famous disputatio that took place in the time of Lusitanus on the subject of the circulation of blood.
In the spirit of this dialogue, we welcome proposals for papers which are in themselves interdisciplinary, or which, while situated in a particular discipline, invite fruitful comparison with either of the other two disciplines represented at this conference. All proposals should pertain to the literature, science and/or medicine of the medieval or early modern periods, although this does not exclude consideration of the prehistory, or legacy, of medieval and early modern texts. Our aim is to better understand how these three fields of knowledge overlapped and hybridized in the past, for in our own age of hyper-specialisation we have greater than ever need to explore the many ways in which these fields once occupied a common ground.