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2016年8月26日

 記事のカテゴリー : 新刊案内

●Breaking boundaries between literature and medicine○ボグダン真理愛[愛媛大学(院)]―福田安典『医学書のなかの「文学」』(笠間書院)英文紹介文公開

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福田安典『医学書のなかの「文学」』(笠間書院)の、ボグダン真理愛氏による英文紹介文を公開いたします。

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福田安典『医学書のなかの「文学」 江戸の医学と文学が作り上げた世界』(笠間書院)
ISBN978-4-305-70804-5 C0095
A5判・並製・カバー装・280頁
定価:本体2,200円(税別)

○本書の詳細はこちらをご覧下さい。
http://shop.kasamashoin.jp/bd/isbn/9784305708045/

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Breaking boundaries between literature and medicine

ボグダン真理愛[愛媛大学(院)]


  When a person hears the expressions "medical books" or "books on herbal medicine" (『本草書』honzousho in Japanese), they often associate them with scholarly (and often dry) reports on research and findings in these sciences. Yasunori Fukuda, however, takes a fresh look at this "scientific literature" and opens our eyes to the fact that it is, in fact, literature.

  In the academic world, we often see a focus on differences between subjects, a focus that leads to the creation of multiple, highly specialized genres. A problem with this line of thinking is that when you concentrate on the differences, you tend to view genres in isolation―as though they have been developed completely independently of each other―and can often miss the important connections that exist between them. We need to realize that a genre is merely an artificial construct in a person's mind used in categorizing the outside world which we perceive.

  Once the foundation has been laid in which objects or concepts have been separated, given individual concrete definitions, and organized into systems, we also need to shift our focus more onto examining the connections and interactions between them. Finding new connections and offering ways to see the everyday world from a more holistic point of view can lead to us having a richer, deeper perspective of the universe.

  The shift to an interdisciplinary focus can be observed in recent changes in pedagogical approaches. For example, the new curriculum which Finland will put into effect in August of 2016 will depend heavily on a move toward phenomenon-based teaching, which is a move away from subjects and toward interdisciplinary topics. In Switzerland, another country renowned worldwide for its educational system, elementary school students, rather than being taught "subjects", are able to decide on a theme and learn whatever is related to that theme through a certain period of time.

  For instance, if they decide to learn about horses, they may read stories about horses, learn the history of the horse, look into their bone structure, or even calculate their average speed when they run. In this way, the learning process for such a project can, for example, draw upon Physical Education (by actually riding a horse) and Art (by drawing pictures of horses), among other disciplines. Even though this novel approach to education can be difficult to put into practice in an ideal way―considering what is involved in trying to balance the level of the things you teach and attempting to cover every field―it shows great potential in children's education and has been gathering attention from all around the world. It is becoming evident that more and more people are realizing the importance of looking into the connections and interactions between different genres and the value of building a holistic point of view.

  In recent years, interest in analyzing medical books, a genre which had been largely neglected in the past, has been on the rise. However, those who have worked with only "pure" literature in the past can find the prospect of dealing with medical texts quite daunting. This book by Professor Fukuda provides an easy-to-understand introduction for such readers.

  One can not consider research into or enjoyment of literary works written from around the early seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century complete without a look into the medical books written during that period. In order to understand those types of books, you need to be well-informed about medical books that are related to them. The authors and readers of these medical works viewed them not only as reference material for their medical practice, but also as literature to be enjoyed for its own sake.

  While such books were, of course, usually used as tools in the medical trade, they also began to be regarded as works of parody that could be enjoyed away from the job. In this way, we can see a process of evolution in which medical books came to be used in a way apart from their original purpose.

  Eventually, this type of literary pursuit started to spread among people who did not practice medicine, and many parodies of medical books began to emerge. This trend had the end result of producing many readers who did not actually practice medicine, but who held a knowledge of medical books. They would pick up medical books just to enjoy them for their "literary" value. The present book introduces us to examples of such works and shows where "medical" and "literary" can crossover with one another, making a distinction between them blurred.

  On p.102, we see a case in which a medical work takes on aspects of a literary work. It is a "fill-in-the-blank form" published in 1778 to aid in easily producing a medical chart/record for a patient, in which the doctor can fill in the pertinent data. Medical records based on such forms were quite common in the period.

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  The doctor can begin by including information one would typically expect, such as the name, age, and symptoms of the patient. It then goes on, however, to describe failed treatments by other doctors as "murder" and then suddenly stress the amazing success of the present treatment and how it surprises even the doctor himself and astonishes relatives. In this way, the medical record reads as if it comes from the scene from a highly dramatical play.

  In Dr. Fukuda's commentary, he suggests that such sensationalism was deemed necessary to add to the credibility and vividness of the record. Reading such records gives the reader a certain sense of enjoyment or entertainment, as if they were reading the script from a dramatized literary work.

  Now let us look at another example from the book (p. 30-31). Can you tell which of the two is the original medical book?

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  It is the one on the left. This was a medical book written by a skilled medical practitioner from the early Edo Period named Dousan Manase, a book which was in widespread use at the time. On the right, however, you see a literary work which imitates the original medical book in order to get people's attention. In this parody, a prescription to cure a "distortion of the mind" is written by merely making an analogy to the medical book. Doctors can cure optic and oral distortions, but not distortions of the mind. You can see in the lower part of the right-hand figure an itemized section which resembles a list of medicines, but which is actually a list of books of moral teachings and Dangibon books (literary works that contained both humor and teachings popular in the Edo Period). In this way the parody plays on the medical book, and it only worked effectively based on the presupposition of the fact that "Deviated eyes and mouth lead to optic and oral distortion" was widely known to people.

  Such medical texts stood not as specialized books, but were treated as "reading material". We need to throw out the preconceived notion of seeing literature and medical books as being completely separate entities with no common ground, and then we can realize the value in reading medical works published in the early modern era.

  This present work discusses books that require a knowledge and an understanding of the world of medicine and medical herbs especially for people who have not studied medicine in order for them to understand these "literary works".

  As the title of this book, "The 'Literature' You see in Medical Books", clearly suggests, we can find elements of what we would commonly consider to be "literature" contained in medical works.

  You could say that Yasunori Fukuda is opening a new window onto the study of literature.

  The book consists of the following sections:

Introduction
Chapter One: "Medical books"? or "Literature"?
Chapter Two: Chikusai; a Fictional Quack Doctor beloved by readers during the Edo Period
Conclusion: New Fields of Edo-Period Literature

  In the first chapter, the author begins with an analysis of a book titled "Isha Dangi (Lectures for Doctors)", a work which can not be easily categorized as a medical book or a literary work, but rather takes on both roles. He then goes on to provide an overview of other works which, at first glance, have the appearance of medical books, and then follows this with a discussion of medical records from the Edo Period.

  The second chapter centers upon a work called "Chikusai", which is considered to be a representative of kanazoshi, or "books written in kana" and has been called an exemplary novel from the modern period. It also discuss books that are in the same category as "Chikusai" and other relevant material from the viewpoint of the Manase "School" of medical science.

  The final section provides us with general observations and conclusions based on the analyses and discussions of the earlier sections.
  Even the reader who wants to look into medical books from solely literary point of view will still need some basic medical knowledge. With this book, Yasunori Fukuda has provided us with entertaining and insightful perspectives on how to create a foundation which will allow us to enjoy this intriguing area of literature.


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