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Modernism and Physical Illness – Sick Books - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Modernism and Physical Illness: Sick Books

Peter Fifield


T. S. Eliot memorably said that separation of the man who suffers from the mind that creates is the root of good poetry. This book argues that this is wrong. Beginning from Virginia Woolf’s ‘On Being Ill’, it demonstrates that modernism is, on the contrary, invested in physical illness as a subject, method, and stylizing force. Experience of physical ailments, from the fleeting to the fatal, the familiar to the unusual, structures the writing of the modernists, both as sufferers and onlookers. Illness reorients the relation to and appearance of the world, making it appear newly strange; it det ... More

Keywords: modernism, illness, body, disease, medicine, style, method, subject

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198825425
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198825425.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Fifield, author
Lecturer in Modern Literature, Birkbeck, University of London