Date of Award
Eleanor McNees, Ph.D.
Anthony Trollope, Doctor, England, George Eliot, Medicine, Victorian literature
The medical practitioners who play leading roles in the novels Middlemarch by George Eliot and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope are examples of a new breed of professional medical men that emerged during the middle of the nineteenth century in England. The new class of general practitioners held licenses from the old hierarchical system of physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries, but they were the driving force in favor of reform and professionalization in medicine. The 1858 Medical Act was an important step on the path toward a new conception of the medical practitioner, and the development of that new medical identity opened the door for doctors as the principal characters in novels. Trollope's Thorne marks an intermediate conception of the doctor balanced between genteel tradition and professional reform, while Eliot's Lydgate embodies the new model of a medical protagonist whose personal flaws could be balanced by professional brilliance.
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Illige-Saucier, Denis, "Uncertain Identity: Medical Practitioners in Doctor Thorne and Middlemarch" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 301.
Received from ProQuest
British and Irish literature, History of science