The discursive negotiation between illness (its politics, histories, and personalities) and language is at the heart of this course. Through a close examination of a variety of texts (novels, plays, comics, film, etc.) that take illness as their central subject matter, students explore a series of questions including: What influence does illness (epidemic or personal) have on narrative? What is the relationship between social and political attitudes toward disease and the way texts characterize healthy and sick? What are the recuperative or reformative functions of narrative? Texts under study will be drawn largely from the 20th and 21st centuries and will include a number of theoretical and critical readings on illness and narrative.