The female patient: American women writers narrating medicine and psychology, 1890-1930

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The Female Patient: American Women Writers Narrating Medicine and Psychology 1890-1930 considers how American women writers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Stein,

The Female Patient: American Women Writers Narrating Medicine and Psychology 1890-1930 considers how American women writers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Stein, use the novel form to examine medical culture during and after the turn of the 20th century. These authors insert the viewpoint of the woman patient, I argue, to expose problematics of gendered medical relationships and women’s roles in medicine, as well as the complexities of the pre-Freudian medical environment. Issues such as categorizing and portrayal of mental illness, control and perception of the patient through treatment, women's alternative medical practices, addiction, and the immigrant and minority patient are all examined. In doing so, the goal of revising medicine's dominant narratives and literature's role in that objective may be achieved. Authors using the subjectivity of the patient help to refigure perspectives of women's medical and social encounters. Utilizing historical record and sociocultural theorizing, this dissertation presents the five women authors as essential in creating new narratives of modernity and ways of understanding medical experience during this time.