Emotions and Surgery in Britain, 1793–1912
In this innovative analytical account of the place of emotion and embodiment in nineteenth-century British surgery, Michael Brown examines the changing emotional dynamics of surgical culture for both surgeons and patients from the pre-anaesthetic era through the introduction of anaesthesia and antisepsis techniques. Drawing on diverse archival and published sources, Brown explores how an emotional regime of Romantic sensibility, in which emotions played a central role in the practice and experience of surgery, was superseded by one of scientific modernity, in which the emotions of both patient and practitioner were increasingly marginalised. Demonstrating that the cultures of contemporary surgery and the emotional identities of its practitioners have their origins in the cultural and conceptual upheavals of the later nineteenth century, this book challenges us to question our perception of the pre-anaesthetic period as an era of bloody brutality and casual cruelty. This title is also available as open access.
Michael Brown is a historian at Lancaster University. He is co-editor of Martial Masculinities: Experiencing and Imagining the Military in the Long Nineteenth Century (2019) and author of Performing Medicine: Medical Culture and Identity in Provincial England, c.1760–1850 (2011), as well as numerous articles on the history of medicine, war, gender, and emotion. Between 2016 and 2021 he was the Principal Investigator on the Wellcome Trust Investigator Award project Surgery & Emotion (108667/Z/15/Z).