Realism and Hypertrophy: A Study of Three Medico-Historical `Cases'

This article places three nineteenth century French country doctors, viz., Benassis in Balzac's Le M├ędecin de campagne (1833), Charles Bovary in Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857), and Pascal in Zola's Le Docteur Pascal (1893) in the context of medical history. All three are shown as largely conforming to the prevailing conditions in French nineteenth century medicine in their training, their practices, their treatments and medications, and their relationships to society and religion. But the profile of the three doctors themselves is in each case inflated/deflated: into utopian fantasy in Benassis, reductive satire in Bovary, and melodramatic romance in Pascal. (LRF)
Furst, Lilian R
Volume 1993-1994 Fall-Winter; 22(1-2): 29-47