Wounds and Wonder: Emotion, Imagination, and War in the Cultures of Romantic Surgery

Michael Brown

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Abstract: This article uses the writings of the surgical siblings John and Charles Bell to explore the relationships between surgery, war and emotion in the Romantic era. Drawing on the argument that it was in this period that war came to be constructed as the ‘ultimate' emotional experience, rich in pathos and distinct from anything in civil life, it argues that surgeons such as the Bells might capitalise on the cultural cachet of war to bridge the professional and experiential divide between the civil and military spheres, but that this process was fraught with complexity and ambiguity, both politically and emotionally.

© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-59
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020

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