‘This Strange Disease of Modern Life’: Victorian Illness, Health and Medicine
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Friday, October 6th & Saturday, October 7th, 2000
hosted by
The University of South Carolina
Liberal Arts * English * Women's Studies* Thomas Cooper Library
with support from the
South Carolina Humanities Council
a state-level agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities



Session 1: Opening Plenary Presentations-
Beverly Taylor, UNC-Chapel Hill, “Gender and the Politics of Illness in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Poetry.”
Maria H. Frawley, U of Delaware, “Bedroom Prophet, Sickroom Saint: Ellen Chadwick, the Famous Manchester Invalid.”

Session 2A: Medicine, Sickness & Elizabeth Gaskell
Chair: Larry K. Uffelman, Mansfield U
Amy Mae King, California Institute of Technology, “Taxonomical Cures: Herbalist Medicine and Gaskell’s Realism.”
Pirjo Koivuvaara, U of Tampere, Finland, “Invalidism, Power, and Desire: Strategies of Emaciation in Gaskell’s The Moorland Cottage.”
Carolyn Betensky, George Washington U, “Embodied Analogies: Sickness and Health in Gaskell’s North and  South.”

Session 2B: Illness & the Brontes
Chair: Mary Graf, U of South Carolina/Greenville
Tamara Silvia Wagner, Churchill College, Cambridge, “Victorian aesthetics of affliction: the sick-room topos in Bronte’s Villette.”
Michelle Whitney, U of South Carolina, “Chloroform, Midwifery, and Female Creativity in Ann Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Kate Brown, Emory U, “Naming the Epidemics: Jane Eyre, AIDS, and the Scandal of Death.”

Reception (Fri., 4:45-6:00 p.m., Graniteville Room)
The reception is sponsored by the Thomas Cooper Society
Official welcomes: Robert L. Felix, President, Thomas Cooper Society
Robert D. Newman, Chair, Department of English, U of South Carolina
Exhibits from two 19th century collections: selected items from the George H. Bunch Collection of Medical Books and the C. Warren Irvin, Jr. Collection of Charles Darwin & Darwiniana.


Session 3A: Medicine and Poetry
Chair: Mark Reger, Johnson C. Smith U.
Kirstie Blair, St. Anne’s C, Oxford, “‘When the blood creeps’: Victorian poetry and the pathology of the heart,  1830-1860.”
Lee Erickson, Marshall U, “Taking a medical history: the Strange Case of Browning’s Karshish.”
Daniel S. Kline, Ohio SU, “‘What suffering is there not seen’: Empedocles on Etna and Victorian Medicine.”

Session 3B: Alcoholism & Addiction
Chair:  Todd Richardson, U of South Carolina
Gay Sibley, U of Hawaii at Manoa, “Rural Alcoholism in Adam Bede.”
Marlene Tromp, Denison U, “‘Under the influence’: Women Spiritualists’ ‘Dreadful Addiction to Drink.”
Mark Mossman, Bethany College, “Mr. Jasper’s Body: Addiction and Disability in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

Session 3C: Gendering Mal(e)aise: Illness & Masculinity
Chair: Beth Torgerson, U of Nebraska
Robert Stalker, Emory U, “Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads and the ‘Language of Nerveless and Effeminate   Libertinage’.”
Lee Anna Maynard, U of South Carolina, “Male malaise and gendered madness: Robert Audley in Lady Audley’s  Secret.”
Henry A. Sandberg, Montgomery County College, “Representations of Deterioration: Simeon Solomon’s Sickly  Males.”

Session 3D: Victorians Institute Executive Board

Session 4A: Dickens and Pathology--Social and Medical
Chair: Tony Giffone, SUNY Farmingdale
Rebecca Stern, Ball SU, “Economic Ailments: the Market, the Ailing Body, and the Home in Dickens’s Little  Dorrit.”
Nancy Aycock Metz, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & SU, “Medicalizing Nostalgia: Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, and  the Lure of Home.”
Kathleen Susan Frederickson, U of Chicago, “Pathologizing Senility in Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop.”

Session 4B: Envisioning Public Health
Chair: Hayden Ward, West Virginia U.
Scott Dransfield, Gordon College, “Diagnosing the Disease of Revolution: Carlyle and the ‘Condition of   England’.”
Larry K. Uffelman, Mansfield U,  “The Revd. Charles Kingsley and the Chemistry of Public Health.”
Valerie Johnson, U of Kentucky, “Dirt, discovery and deprecation: the trauma of Victorian Sanitary Reform.”

Session 4C: Medical Professionalism I
Chair: Meegan Kennedy, Trinity College, CT
Jen Hill, U of Nevado-Reno, “Examining Women: Charles Reade’ s A Woman Hater, Lesbian Contagion, and the  Debate on Medical Education for Women.”
Barbara Tilley, U of Florida, “Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins: Doctoring the New Woman.”
Kathryn Miele, U of Delaware, “Scientific medicine and the Abuse of the Body in Conan Doyle’s ‘Behind the  Times’.”

Session 4D: Victorian Illness and Female Authority
Chair: Suzanne Ozment, The Citadel
Margaret M. Morlier, Reinhardt College, “Flawed Heroics: Uneasy Hero-Worship in Elizabeth Barrett’s sonnets  ‘To George Sand’.”
Susannah Clements, U of South Carolina, “Thorns in the Flesh: Sickness, Providence, and  Religious Authority in  Charlotte Yonge’s Clever Woman of the Family.”
Laura Fasick, Moorhead SU, “Strong Enough to Serve: Invalidism and the Victorian Ideal of Feminity.”


Session 5A: Medical Professionalism II
Chair: James McNally, Old Dominion U
Patricia Marks, Valdosta SU, “The Architecture of Healing in W.B.Maxwell’s The Ragged Messenger.
Karen Odden, NYU, “‘Able and Intelligent Medical Men Meeting Together’: the Victorian Railway Crash, Medical  Jurisprudence, and the Rise of Medical Authority.”
Louise Penner, Transylvania U,  “Lydgate’s Double Vision: Realism, Empiricism, and Medical Ethics in Middlemarch.”

Session 5B: Bodies & the Social Body
Chair: David Latane, Virginia Commonwealth U
Pamela K. Gilbert, U of Florida, “Mapping the Social Body: Victorian Medical Cartography.”
Ellen Bayuk Rosenman, U of Kentucky, “Body Doubles: Surgeons and their Others.”
Ed Madden, U of South Carolina, “Disease, deformity, and desire: Havelock Ellis and the deviant body.”

Session 5C: Politics & Illness
Chair: Kathleen McCormack, Florida International U
Melissa Schaub, Indiana-Purdue U, Fort Wayne,  “Satire and Sympathy: the Politics of Illness in Mary Barton and Sybil.
Carolyn Jacobson, U of Pennsylvania, “Spreading the Word: Language and Fever in Martineau’s Deerbrook.”
Deborah Logan, Western Kentucky U, “Martineau and the ‘True-hearted Englishwoman’: from the Sickroom to the War Office and Beyond.”

Session 5D: Illness and the Victorian Sage
Chair: Leon Jackson, U of South Carolina
Elizabeth Hale, Brandeis U, “Sickly scholars and healthy novels: Middlemarch and Robert Elsmere.”
David Goslee, U of Tennessee, “Darwin’s Scapegoat: Evolution as Illness in Huxley’s Essays.”
David J. Bradshaw, Warren Wilson College, “Self-alienation and fragmented personality in Gosse’s Father and  Son.”

Session 6A: Sickness and the Sensation Novel: Wilkie Collins
Chair: Gerald Farrar, James Madison U
Dennis Denisoff, Ryerson U, “The Wheelchair Hysterics of Masculine Vitality in Wilkie Collins’s The Law and the  Lady.”
Nicholas Dames, Columbia U, “Sick Memories: Medical Developments, the Mental Pathology of Amnesia, and  Collins’s The Moonstone.”
Jolene Zigarovich, Claremont Graduate University, “‘We all say it’s on the nerves’: Invalidism, Class, and Modernization in Collins’s The Woman in White.”

Session 6B: Health & the New Woman
Chair: Cynthia Davis, U of South Carolina
Michael Blackie, U of Southern California, “Photographing the Rest Cure: Playfair and the S. Weir Mitchell Rest  Cure in England.”
Cynthia Ellen Patton, Emporia State U, “‘That greatest of earthly blessings’: Health in the Correspondence   Columns of The Girl’s Own Paper.”
Keaghan Kay, U of South Carolina, “Sick and Tired: the New Woman’s Disease in Ella Hepworth Dixon’s Story of a Modern Woman.

Session 6C: Sickness in Late Victorian Poetry
Chair: Hallman Bryant, Clemson U.
Joetta Harty, George Washington U, “‘The Land of Counterpane’: Robert Louis Stevenson and Writing Children’s  Verses to Counter Pain.”
Brooke McLaughlin, U of South Carolina, “Illness, blame and the Highland Clearances in Mathilde Blind’s Heather on Fire.”
Jessica Walsh, U of Iowa, “‘A creature maimed and marr’d/From very birth’: Depression and Despair in the poetry  of Amy Levy.”

Session 6D: Late Victorian Medical Fantasies
Chair: Siobhan Craft Brownson, Winthrop U.
Marcia Littenberg, SUNY Farmingdale, “Blood and water: evolutionary phantoms of female sexuality in late  Victorian literature.”
Brenda Mann Hammack, Roanoke College, “Pregnancy and trauma in Holmes’s Elsie Venner and Marryat’s Blood of the Vampire.”
Susan Cannon Harris, U of Notre Dame, “Pathological possibilities: contagion and empire in Conan Doyle’s  Sherlock Holmes Stories.”

Session 7: Concluding Plenary Keynote: Antony H. Harrison on Christina Rossetti and Victorian Illness