Begin with a Text: Teaching the Poetics of Medicine
- 798 Downloads
This paper suggests that the purpose of humanities teaching within medical education should be primarily to teach and promote the informed, attentive, critical, and precise reading of the multiple texts that constitute medicine as a discursive field—in short, a poetics of medicine. This claim is illustrated by reconsidering Margaret Edson’s play Wit, not as it is often used in medical education, as a cautionary tale about unprofessional behavior or as a way to inculcate “humanistic skills,” but as an analysis of the relationships between texts and feelings—or cognition and emotion, or science and art. This reading is illustrated by comparing the poetics of Wit with those of two other texts representing ovarian cancer: a scientific paper in Oncology and a clinical case conference in JAMA.
KeywordsMedical humanities Medical education Wit (Margaret Edson) Ovarian cancer Poetics Textual analysis
- Edson, Margaret. 1993. Wit. New York: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
- Eliot, T. S. 1921. “The Metaphysical Poets.” In Selected Essays. (1950): 241–250. London: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
- Greene, Jay. 2000. “Play Shares One Patient’s Experience of Dying.” American Medical News 43:9.Google Scholar
- Konstantinopoulos, Panagiotis A., and Christopher S. Awtrey. 2012. “Management of Ovarian Cancer: A 75-year-old Woman who has Completed Treatment.” Journal of the American Medical Association 307 (3): 1420–1429.Google Scholar
- Lewis, Peter R. 2005. “The Wisdom of Wit in the Teaching of Medical Students and Residents.” Family Medicine 37 (6): 396–8.Google Scholar
- Marks, Peter. 1998. “Science and Poetry Face Death in the Hospital Room.” New York Times September 18: E1, 3.Google Scholar
- “Poetics,” n. Oxford English Dictionary Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. (http://www.oed.com.turing.library.northwestern.edu/view/Entry/318383?redirectedFrom=poetics). Accessed 26 October 2012.
- Richards, I. A. 1925. Principles of Literary Criticism. New York: Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Wit Film Project. 2002. “Why Wit?” http://www.growthhouse.org/witfilmproject/project.html. Accessed October 24, 2012.