Bellevue Literary Review Study Guides

Bellevue chest physicians review an X-ray of a TB patient, circa 1932. The insignia on the jacket of the physician – the Cross of Lorraine – was the symbol of the NY Lung Association. Courtesy of Bellevue Hospital Archives: Chest Collection.

The experience of illness is both universal and deeply personal. Each of us will at some time become a patient, experience an illness or disability that may be acute or chronic, mild or life-threatening.  All of us will observe the ailments and deaths of loved ones. Some of us—doctors, nurses and other medical professionals—interact with illness from “both sides of the stethoscope.” The impact of illness on us as individuals, in our relationships to one another and in the broader socio-political context, cannot be underestimated.

The study guides on the following pages ask probing questions and highlight key words, concepts, and themes to facilitate and guide discussion and provide a way to explore the effects of disease on patients, caregivers, and societies at large. These guides for discussion, which refer to stories, essays, and poems previously published in the Bellevue Literary Review, also serve to prompt the reader to further examine the implications of style, voice, and content in various forms of creative writing.

These study guides provide a framework for encountering illness from a variety of perspectives and are useful teaching tools for instructors of literature, ethics, and medicine/nursing, social workers, and health care professionals, as well as for adult continuing education courses, general reading groups or book clubs, and individuals looking for deeper ethical, social, and literary readings of the experience of illness.

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