Dr Jivitesh Vashisht
Junior Anniversary Fellow, September 2020-June 2021
Project Title: Medical Case Writing and its Cultural Legacies
In 2020-21, I am concurrently Junior Anniversary Fellow at IASH, Edinburgh, and the Brotherton Fellow at the University of Leeds, where I was a doctoral and postdoctoral researcher and teaching associate from 2014 to 2020. I am also beginning a three-year position as the ‘Psychoanalysis’ reviewer for The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (2020-23).
My research spans a range of literary forms and cultural productions, and typically cuts across twentieth-century fiction, drama, and media cultures (radio and cinema). Much of my work to date reflects my abiding interests in the senses and the relationship between texts. I am interested in the auditory, visual and tactile production of subjectivities (particularly as elaborated within psychoanalytic thinking), and writers’ reading of other writers and thinkers (especially their contemporaries) and how this readerly engagement manifests in their archives and works. These two strands of enquiry came together in my doctoral research (awarded 2019), which examined the figure of the invisible-but-audible woman in Samuel Beckett’s stage, radio and television plays (1956-1980) in relation to his literary criticism and systematic reading projects in psychology from the 1930s.
My postdoctoral research at IASH, while exercised by some of these questions, additionally develops my emerging interests in life-writing, the rhetoric of medicine, and bioethics. ‘Medical Case Writing and its Cultural Legacies’ examines recent exchanges between the literary and medical fields around the medical case history as a genre. Since the 1970s, medical case histories have been increasingly published as bestselling anthologies aimed at the lay reader. Routinely bypassing the print medium altogether, they have even been re-conceived as radio features and theatre pieces. In this time, the case history’s debt to literary figures and forms (especially drama and the novel) has been acknowledged more explicitly than before by its clinician-authors. Conversely, renowned novelists, playwrights and theatre-makers have collaborated with clinicians in creatively reworking their famous cases. The project thinks about the stylistic and ethical dimensions of biomedical writing practices and their consumption by ever-increasing publics.
‘“Lips Move, Uttering Inaudibly”: the Female Voice in Samuel Beckett’s …but the clouds… (1976)’, The Journal of Beckett Studies (Edinburgh University Press), September 2020.
Co-edited with Andy Stafford and Claire Lozier. ‘Roland Barthes and Samuel Beckett: Unspoken Dialogues’, Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory (Edinburgh University Press). Under contract for 2022.
‘Happy Days, dir. by Sarah Frankcom with Maxine Peake as Winnie, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, 25 May–23 June 2018’ (Performance Review), The Journal of Beckett Studies, 28.1 (2019): Beckett and the Everyday, pp. 118-124.
‘James Strachey: Journalist, Psychoanalyst, Translator’, Modernist Archives Publications Project. <http://cidr-mapp-prod.stanford.edu/person/james-strachey>