Date of Degree
Anna Ayşe Akasoy
Arabic Language and Literature | Classical Literature and Philology | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Comparative Philosophy | Ethics and Political Philosophy | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Intellectual History | Islamic World and Near East History | Medical Humanities | Other Classics | Other Philosophy | Translation Studies
Storytelling, Narrative Medicine, Reception Studies, Galen, Shahrazad, Rousseau
Are stories healing? This dissertation introduces and explores an idea that I call “the storytelling cure.” With this term I capture a set of related notions about the healing power of stories that span literary studies, intellectual history, philosophy, and medical practice. Through a comparative study I make the case for “the storytelling cure” as a cross-cultural, multiconfessional, and multilingual phenomenon of great age, complexity, and power, worthy of the most sustained attention by the contemporary field of Comparative Literature. Concretely, this dissertation presents three extended case studies of “storytelling cures” from three different kinds of texts (case history, frame tale, thought experiment), three different cultures (Greco-Roman, Islamicate, early modern European), and three different languages (ancient Greek, classical Arabic, French). The key texts are Galen’s On Prognosis, the “Frame Tale” of the collection of stories known today as 1001 Nights, and The Second Discourse of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In drawing up these texts for comparative analysis, my goal was to balance a sense of the cultural and historical differences that make comparisons illuminating with the rendering power of a synthetic study. Galen, Shahrazad, and Rousseau’s storytelling cures are each quite different, and they occur in different social contexts as well, but they are unified by a shared historical and conceptual backdrop––the reception history of the Galenic medical tradition, as it makes its way from Galen’s own day into the ʿAbbāsid translation movement and on to the medical schools of Montpellier.
Milov-Cordoba, Ryan A., "The Storytelling Cure: Medicine and Narrative from Galen to Shahrazad and Rousseau" (2022). CUNY Academic Works.
Arabic Language and Literature Commons, Classical Literature and Philology Commons, Comparative Methodologies and Theories Commons, Comparative Philosophy Commons, Ethics and Political Philosophy Commons, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Commons, Intellectual History Commons, Islamic World and Near East History Commons, Medical Humanities Commons, Other Classics Commons, Other Philosophy Commons, Translation Studies Commons