Incorporating Literature into a Health Law Curriculum
44 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2006
Literature has had a long relationship with medicine through literary images of disease, literary images of physicians and other healers, works of literature by physician-writers, and the use of literature as a method of active or passive healing. Literature also has had a long relationship with the law through literary images of various legal processes, lawyers, and judges, works of literature by lawyer-writers, and the use of literature as therapy. How can the field of law and literature inform the study of health law? And how can the field of literature and medicine help the field of law and literature in this regard? This article shows how the descriptive, contextual, and narrative qualities of literature, literary nonfiction, and illness narratives can be used to enhance traditional case law, statutory, and regulatory approaches to teaching health law. Examples are drawn from Samuel Shem's The House of God, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward, George Eliot's Middlemarch, and Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
Keywords: Literature, Medicine, Health Law, Narratives of Illness, Illness Narratives, Literary Nonfiction
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