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English 2000H: Imagining the Boundaries of Medicine: Home

Literary Examples

Finding fictional treatments of medical topics in the MERLIN catalog is relatively easy. Do a subject search on "fiction" to browse a list of fictional books by topic. Or make your search more specific: fiction influenza; fiction physicians; fiction medicine.

To find short stories, do a keyword search on "stories" with other words, such as disease, medicine, or more specific terms. Or you might check the Short Story Index (Reference Z5917.S5 C62), a printed guide to short-stories by topic.

To find memoirs, diaries, etc. do a keyword search on "personal narratives" (with the quotation marks) with other words to designate your topic.

The Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database of NYU School of Medicine lists many examples from literature, art, film, and theater, with brief summaries and commentaries.

The Literature Online Text collection contains the full text of the most-studied English language literary texts, published until about 1923 in the case of prose and drama, but continuing into recent times in the case of poetry. You can search for more recent literary examples published within journals by searching in the Criticism sub-category and ticking the box for "literary works".

Useful Subject Headings

Library catalogs, such as MERLIN, use a "controlled vocabulary" of standard subject headings. These may guide you to some helpful books:

Diseases in literature
Epidemics in literature
Literature and medicine
Medicine in art
Medicine in literature
Medicine in motion pictures
Narrative medicine
Physicians in literature
Public medicine
Social medicine
[topic] fiction
[topic] in literature
[topic] religious aspects
[topic] social aspects
[topic] [place] history xth century (e.g. smallpox united states history 18th century)

Medical libraries use their own system of medical subject headings: MESH.

Case method
Fictional Works
Medical history taking

Google Book Search

Google Book Search

Google Books contains the full text of books provided by libraries and publishers. Materials that are out of copyright (generally pre-1925) can be viewed online. For more recent books, Google Book Search functions as a detailed index. Books identified may be available at MU, via MOBIUS, or may be requested through ILL@MU.