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The Politics of Medicine in German and Anglophone Dystopian Fiction

Branco, Mylène Maïlys (2019) The Politics of Medicine in German and Anglophone Dystopian Fiction. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:75418)

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This thesis examines the medical discourses that underpin the totalitarian power structures depicted in dystopian literature. Adopting a comparative and interdisciplinary framework, it investigates the interplay between medicine, politics, and the human body in twentieth- and twenty-first-century German and Anglophone dystopian fiction. As an unsettling critique of totalitarian political regimes, dystopian fiction offers a warning against the institutionalisation of allegedly 'utopian' ideologies where invasive medical procedures and technologies are utilised to establish normative societal structures. By focussing on the manifold scientific and biomedical discourses that undergird a selection of German and Anglophone texts - Alfred Döblin, Berge Meere und Giganten (1924); Charlotte Haldane, Man's World (1926); L.P. Hartley, Facial Justice (1960); Zoë Fairbairns, Benefits (1979); Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985); Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005); Juli Zeh, Corpus Delicti (2009); Angelika Meier, Heimlich, heimlich mich vergiss (2012) - this project seeks to illuminate the complex intersections between science, medicine, and literature. Combining historical, feminist, and medical humanities critical perspectives, the thesis shows that the quest for the perfect society or 'brave new world' (in Huxley's famous title borrowed from Shakespeare) causes unnecessary human suffering as a consequence of the amoral manipulation of biomedical research. The comparative dimension of the thesis brings into dialogue the German and Anglophone dystopian traditions by examining a corpus of texts that expose the implacable violence and human rights abuses of totalitarian regimes, thus showing that both traditions share similar ethical concerns about the effects that invasive medico-political control strategies may have on the human body and the conception of the self.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2019 12:53 UTC
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Branco, Mylène Maïlys.

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