In bringing medical anthropology and the history of medicine together as a new lens through which to look at the Brontë novels, this study is multifaceted in what it offers. First, it offers a greater appreciation of the lives of the Brontës within their historical and cultural context. An awareness of how disease, illness, and death were prominent parts of Victorian life heightens our appreciation of the role disease and death played within the Brontës’ lives. Moving beyond a general knowledge of this fact to a greater understanding of how specific diseases were culturally understood enhances our ability to understand individual illness experiences within this particular culture. Such an appreciation enables us to see how specific Victorian diseases, such as cholera, rabies, consumption, or hypochondria had an impact upon the Brontë family as either family members or friends experienced these diseases. We can also gain appreciation of how the Victorian cultural understanding of intemperance, a condition, which had not yet achieved the status of being considered a disease, would shape the experience of those, such as the Brontë family, who were living with it.
KeywordsCataract Heroine Blindness Metaphor Cholera
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