This companionoffers for the first time a book-length review of medical practitioners and episodes in Dickens's fiction. The vels and sketches are examined from a medical-historical viewpoint, revealing in several cases a topicality which has been obscured by time. The accuracy of Dickens's descriptions is confirmed by comparison with medical texts published between the 1700s and the present. Examination of the reception of Dickens's works by members of the medical profession brings fascinating insight into Dickens's popularity among doctors, the degree to which his characters continue to live, and the diversity of opinion with which they and their medical states are interpreted. The Public Health movement, arising in the Victorian Age, finds its way into Dickens's fiction, and even more into his weekly journals. The folk remedies, movements outside the medical mainstream and superstitions found in Dickens's works reflect t only his own convictions, but also the state of medicine in an age of flux. These aspects in the works of a nineteenth-century medical layman are made accessible and presented in a form readable for laymen and professionals alike.
The Author: Joanne Eysell was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts and has lived in Germany since 1974. After undergraduate study at the American University in Washington, DC, she earned a Masters in German Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, and a Ph.D. in English Literature at the Open University in England. The author works as a medical translator.