Year of entry2017
This Short Course, set up in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, explores the relationship between literature, medicine and history by examining how patients and their bodies, and doctors and their cures, have been represented in imaginary literature in modern Europe. Focusing on fictional narratives, their content and their context, we will think about the changing relationship between reality and imagination, creativity and objectivity and discuss shifting ideas about representation in the making of the modern world and the history of medicine in the West.
Each week we will look at a different work of European fiction and discuss some of its themes in relation to medicine, science, the body and medical history. You are expected to read the 'book of the week' and come to class prepared, having studied some of the additional reading as well, bringing with you ideas to share. In every session, 1 student will introduce the work in a short presentation based on their reading and interpretation highlighting a particular topic in the novel that interested them.
Also, some recent works of literary fiction shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize will be discussed, including
- Jonny Steinberg, Tree Letter Plague.
- Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone.
- Lionel Shriver, So Much for That.
- Alice LaPlante, Turn of Mind.
- Philip Roth, Nemesis.
- Louisa Young, My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You.
- Ann Patchett, State of Wonder.
- Mohammed Hanif, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti.
- Elisabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things.
- Rose Tremain, Merivel.
- Peter James, Perfect People.
This Short Course can be taken as a stand-alone course or it may be available as part of a Certificate of Higher Education.
15 credits at level 4
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis – so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Discover more about our comprehensive range of student services, which offer all the support and assistance you need.
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Evening study explained
Birkbeck is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. With classes held 6pm-9pm, your days are free to study, work, volunteer, or just do your own thing.
There are lots of ways to come and visit us and meet our staff and former students, including Open Evenings, Open Days and guided campus tours. Discover more here.
Short courses explained
Find out everything you need to know about studying a short course at Birkbeck.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Professor Bill Bowring awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences
Professor Bowring is a leading expert in the UK on legal and human rights issues in Russia and the countries of the Former Soviet Union, and Eastern and Central Europe.
Professor Martin Paul Eve awarded Medal of Honour in the Humanities and Social Sciences
The Medal of Honour is awarded to laureates of exceptional academic or social distinction, who make a unique contribution to the mutual relationship between faculties and universities.
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