This book is a shadow cultural history of transplantation as mediated through medical writing, science fiction, life writing and visual arts in a Gothic mode, from the nineteenth century to the present. Works in these genres explore the experience of donors or suppliers, recipients and practitioners, and simultaneously express transfer-related suffering and are complicit in its erasure. Examining texts from Europe, North America and India, the book resists exoticising predatorial tissue economies and considers fantasies of harvest as both product and symbol of ‘slow violence’ (Rob Nixon), precarity and structural ruination under neoliberal capitalism. Gothic tropes, intertextualities and narrative conventions are used in life writing to express the affective and conceptual challenges of post-transplant being, and used in medical writing to manage the ambiguities of hybrid bodies, as a ‘clinical necropoetics’. In their efforts to articulate bioengineered hybridity, these works are not only anxious but speculative. Works discussed include nineteenth-century Gothic, early twentieth-century fiction and film, 1970s American hospital organ theft horror in literature and film, turn-of-the-millennium fiction and film of organ sale, postmillennial science fiction dystopias, life writing and scientific writing from the nineteenth century to the present. Throughout, Gothic representations engage contemporary debates around the management of chronic illness, the changing economics of healthcare and the biopolitics of organ procurement and transplantation – in sum, the strange times and weird spaces of tissue mobilities. The book will be of interest to academics and students researching Gothic studies, science fiction, critical medical humanities and cultural studies of transplantation.
Bodies dis(re)membered: Gothic and the transplant imaginary
studies and criticalmedicalhumanities
One way to define a project’s interdisciplinarity is to list the critical axioms it transgresses. This book performs a ‘critical interloping’, in Stella Bolaki’s term, seeking to enrich medical humanities by broadening the range of illness representation explored and the range of critical practices invoked. 146 The metaphor implies ‘unwelcome … intrusion’, and indeed Gothic studies and medical humanities may both find this book to be a grim, unsolicited guest.
Representations of intense distress are often seen as unhelpful
: Border Lines, 1997), especially chapter
On the medical humanities, see, for example, A.
Whitehead et al. (eds), The Edinburgh Companion to the CriticalMedicalHumanities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016).
: 4 ( 2018 ), 1 – 10 .
103 See www.lifeofbreath.org and Macnaughton J. , and Carel , H. , ‘ Breathing and Breathlessness in Clinic and Culture: Using CriticalMedicalHumanities to Bridge an Epistemic Gap ’, in A. Whitehead and A. Woods (gen. eds), The Edinburgh Companion to the CriticalMedicalHumanities ( Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press , 2016 ), pp. 294 – 309 .
104 Carel , H. , Macnaughton , J. , and Dodd , J. , ‘ Invisible Suffering: Breathlessness in and beyond the Clinic ’, The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine , 3 : 4
Medical Humanities , 16 (1995), 155–174, on
Cole et al., Medical Humanities ; A. Whitehead
and A. Woods (eds), The Edinburgh Companion to the CriticalMedicalHumanities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016).
symposium. For an overview, see Abi McNiven, ‘CriticalMedicalHumanities Symposium – Review’. Available online at http://
medicalhumanities.wordpress.com (accessed 6 February 2014).
73 Joan Scott, ‘History-Writing as Critique’, in Jenkins et al. (eds),
Manifestos for History, pp. 19–39.
74 See Sheila Jasanoff (ed), States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of
Science and the Social Order (London: Routledge, 2004).
75 On the co-production of biological and ethical norms, see Jasanoff,
‘Making the Facts of Life’; Giuseppe Testa, ‘More than Just a Nucleus:
Cloning and the
Uncanny assemblage and embodied scripts in tissue recipient horror
.-C. Hydén, M. Saarenheimo, and M. Tamboukou (eds), Beyond Narrative Coherence (Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2010), pp. 1–15 ; L. Salisbury, ‘Aphasic modernism’, in A. Whitehead, A. Woods, S. Atkinson, et al. (eds), Edinburgh Companion to the CriticalMedicalHumanities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), pp. 444–62 ; A. Woods, ‘Beyond the wounded storyteller’, in H. Carel and R. Cooper (eds), Health, Illness and Disease (Durham: Acumen, 2013), pp. 113–28 ; A. Woods, ‘The limits of narrative’, Medical Humanities , 37 (2011), 91–6 ; S. Wasson