How was the rise of scientific medicine in the Victorian era appropriated and adapted by popular culture? This essay collection explores the relationship between the increasingly specialized medical disciplines and a variety of texts and contexts, including popular (non-canonical) literature, journalism, advertisements, home medical and nursing manuals, and lectures and exhibitions at and mechanics institutes. The collection also offers perspectives on literature's reciprocal influence on diverse health care fields including nursing, pharmacy, medical philanthropy, health care missionary work, advertising, and quackery.
The proposed collection seeks to add to the growing body of scholarship on Victorian scientific and medical writing by considering representations of health care within specifically popular fields. How can we understand the relationships that existed between consumerism, health care, and popular literature in the Victorian period? When and how was lay practice or its representation complimentary, and when was it a form of resistance to increasingly professionalized and scientific medicine? How do popular texts and artifacts of the period represent medical and popular health care trends of the era, such as the scientific revolution in Victorian healthcare? How did visual iconography including advertisements reflect changing views of health care practitioners and consumers? We invite interdisciplinary scholarship and work drawn from a range of disciplines: art history, literature, history, anthropology, public health, sociology, and communications to broaden our understanding of the non-elite bodies of professionals, texts, and cultures that influenced Victorian health care policy and practice.