This thesis explores connections between medicine and literary science. Medicine is understood as an effort to heal and cure suffering, and to understand, prevent or treat disease. At the heart of the medical practice lies the relationship between the doctor and the patient, and the ethics involved in this relationship. Literary science represents a rich field of theories regarding approaches to texts. The theory about stories is called narrative theory, or narratology, and is claimed to be a useful tool in medicine’s approaches to patients.
Two theorists, with somewhat different angles in their work with Literature and medicine, are presented. Kathryn Montgomery, who argues that medicine is an interpretive activity which has more in common with literature than science. Rita Charon focuses on the relationship between the doctor and the patient. She argues that clinicians have much to learn from literature when it comes to understanding stories, and that ”narrative skills” should be developed.
In this thesis I argue that narrative aspects play an essential role in medicine, and that insight in the field of Literature and medicine can help clinicians give substance to the psychosocial aspects of Engel’s biopsychosocial model of disease.