Autopathography and the Bramine's Journal

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The Continuation of the Bramine’s Journal is addressed to Eliza Draper, comprising daily entries between 13 April to 4 August 1767. Sterne captures in the journal a regular account of his suffering from consumption, or what we would now recognise as tuberculosis, recording in painstaking detail a range of encounters with medical professionals, his treatments, and his thoughts on patient experience. The regularity of such material, usually considered as the background to the content concerning Eliza or A Sentimental Journey, invites us to consider the journal’s literary form in a medical light, through the lens of ‘autopathography’, or subjective illness narrative, following Stella Bolaki’s suggestion that illness narratives combine (auto)biographical prose writing about living with a disease with reflections upon patient experience. In turning to recent theorisations of illness narrative, this essay thinks through Sterne’s journal in ways which complement and enlighten its multifariousness while underlining the centrality to the text of his representation of chronic illness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Shandean
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


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