Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine

Women in Medicine in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

From Poisoners to Doctors, Harriet Beecher Stowe to Theda Bara

Authors: Crosby, Sara L.

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  • Contributes to scholarship on American women writers
  • Interrogates representations of women in literature and culture in the nineteenth century
  • Examines Harriet Beecher Stowe’s role in undermining accepted female archetypes
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Hardcover $84.99
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About this book

This book investigates how popular American literature and film transformed the poisonous woman from a misogynist figure used to exclude women and minorities from political power into a feminist hero used to justify the expansion of their public roles. Sara Crosby locates the origins of this metamorphosis in Uncle Tom’s Cabin where Harriet Beecher Stowe applied an alternative medical discourse to revise the poisonous Cassy into a doctor. The newly “medicalized” poisoner then served as a focal point for two competing narratives that envisioned the American nation as a multi-racial, egalitarian democracy or as a white and male supremacist ethno-state. Crosby tracks this battle from the heroic healers created by Stowe, Mary Webb, Oscar Micheaux, and Louisia May Alcott to the even more monstrous poisoners or “vampires” imagined by E. D. E. N. Southworth, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Theda Bara, Thomas Dixon, Jr., and D. W. Griffith. 

 

About the authors

Sara L. Crosby is Associate Professor of English at the Ohio State University at Marion, USA, and author of Poisonous Muse: The Female Poisoner and the Framing of Popular Authorship in Jacksonian America (2016).


Reviews

“Crosby provides a fascinating, beautifully researched look at how American literature and culture defined and redefined the woman poisoner from early in the 19th century to early in the 20th. At the center of this story connecting writers and performers as different as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Theda Bara is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s poisonous woman in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the defiant enslaved healer, Cassy. This is scholarship at its best—lucid, provocative, totally engaging. ” (Elizabeth Ammons, Harriet H. Fay Professor of Literature, Tufts University, USA)

“Provocative and persuasive, Women in Medicine introduces us to the nineteenth century’s poisonous woman who becomes either her polar opposite, the heroic doctor, or the newly pathologized vampire.  Ranging from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Cassy to Theda Bara’s film vamp, Sara Crosby’s portrayal of this quintessential figure is as much a page turner as the popular texts Sara Crosby interrogates. ” (Mary Kelley, Ruth Bordin Collegiate Professor of History, American Culture and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan, USA)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction: Making the Medicinal Poisoner

    Crosby, Sara L.

    Pages 1-35

  • A Quarrel of Poisons: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Homeopathic Poisoner

    Crosby, Sara L.

    Pages 37-86

  • Playing Poison: Mary Webb’s Antidote to the Tom Shows

    Crosby, Sara L.

    Pages 87-133

  • With Friends Like These: E. D. E. N. Southworth and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes’s Pathological Poisoners

    Crosby, Sara L.

    Pages 135-171

  • The Lady Doctor and the Vamp: How Louisa May Alcott, Theda Bara, and Thomas Dixon, Jr., Killed the Poisonous Woman

    Crosby, Sara L.

    Pages 173-224

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96463-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96462-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Women in Medicine in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Book Subtitle
From Poisoners to Doctors, Harriet Beecher Stowe to Theda Bara
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-96463-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-96463-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-96462-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 257
Number of Illustrations
4 b/w illustrations
Topics