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Wounds and Wonder: Emotion, Imagination and War in the Cultures of Romantic Surgery

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>17/06/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number2
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)239-259
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/02/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article uses the writings of the surgical siblings John and Charles Bell to explore the relationships between surgery, war and emotion in the Romantic era. Drawing on the argument that it was in this period that war came to be constructed as the 'ultimate' emotional experience, rich in pathos and distinct from anything in civil life, it argues that surgeons such as the Bells might capitalise on the cultural cachet of war to bridge the professional and experiential divide between the civil and military spheres, but that this process was fraught with complexity and ambiguity, both politically and emotionally.