'But every man cannot be a surgeon' : Elizabeth Gaskell's many-sided medical practitioners'But every man cannot be a surgeon' : Elizabeth Gaskell's many-sided medical practitioners
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Literature and Modernity
Orbis litterarum. - Copenhague
68(2013):6, p. 473-505
University of Antwerp
Although Elizabeth Gaskell's treatment of public health concerns, education, industrialization and workers' rights have all received ample attention in literary criticism, her various depictions of male medical practitioners, their patients and the complicated social and gender practices that affected their practice has yet to be thoroughly studied. Building upon the work of Michel Foucault and Thomas Laqueur, this article will show that while certain stereotypes of the doctorpatient relationship exist in Gaskell's fiction, her work also exposes a broader range of power structures, ones where women exerted various degrees of influence. Gaskell's fiction also reflects the significant roles that the British tripartite medical market and the social structure of nineteenth-century society played in a doctor's perceived abilities and success.