Health Humanities

Health humanities is an emerging strength within the English unit at Loughborough. Our research explores the intersection of English, Humanities, Health, Healthcare, and Wellbeing.

We have particular expertise in mental health in the nineteenth century, ageing and the contemporary, ill-health and work in the twenty-first century, early modern dietary culture (including Shakespeare), and early modern women’s health, pregnancy, and childbirth.




Siân Adiseshiah

Professor of Literature, Politics and Performance

Megan Constable

Research Student

Jennifer Cooke

Head of English, Reader in Contemporary Literature and Theory

Jade French

Doctoral Prize Fellow

Elaine Hobby

Professor Emerita of 17th-Century Studies

Tamarin Norwood

Doctoral Prize Research Fellow

Hannah Palmer

Doctoral Researcher

Rai Powell

Research Student

Sara Read

Senior Lecturer in English

Claire Warden

Professor of Performance and Physical Culture

Our exhibition:  Health from Cradle to Grave: Birthing Chair to Death Couch took place in the Martin Hall Exhibition Space from 27 March - 23 April 2024.

Dix, A and Read, S (2023) Animation, adaptation, and the plague, Adaptation, 16(3), pp.406-426, ISSN: 1755-0637. DOI: 10.1093/adaptation/apad029.

Evans, J and Read, S (2022) Introduction women’s writings of illness and disease, Women's Writing, 29(4), pp.491-496, ISSN: 0969-9082. DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2022.2116866.

Read, S (2020) “Not knowing the disease you”ll miss the cure”. Considering prose fiction published in Aphra Behn’s name in a medical context, Women's Writing, 27(3), pp.361-376, ISSN: 0969-9082. DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2020.1748818.

Read, S (2023) The Midwife's Truth, Wild Pressed Books, ISBN: 978-1916377455.

Read, S (2020) The Gossips' Choice, Wild Pressed Books, ISBN: 978-1916489684.

Read, S (2024) The materials of midwifery in early modern England in five groups of objects. In Dopfel, CG (ed) Maternal Materialities: Objects, Rituals and Material Evidence of Medieval and Early Modern Childbirth, Brepols Publishers, pp.187-200, ISBN: 9782503605739.

Parker, S. and French, J. (2021). But with this I’m embodied’: H.D.’s Public Portraits 1913-1958. Feminist Modernist Studies, 4(1), 93–124. Link

French, J. (2021). Still Tickin’: Betye Saar, Ageing and Assemblage. Women: A Cultural Review, 32(1), 2021, 70–85. Link

O'Callaghan, C (2022) “She resolutely refuses to see a doctor”: Re-reading Emily Brontë and tuberculosis in 1848; or Charlotte Brontë, sickness and correspondence, Women's Writing, 29(4), pp.566-582, ISSN: 0969-9082. DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2022.2122324.

O'Callaghan, C (2018) Emily Bronte Reappraised, ISBN: 9781912235056.

Fitzpatrick, J (2014) Diet and identity in early modern dietaries and Shakespeare: the inflections of nationality, gender, social rank and age, Shakespeare Studies, 42, pp.75-90, ISSN: 0582-9399.

Boyce, C and Fitzpatrick, J (2017) A History of Food in Literature From the Fourteenth Century to the Present, Routledge, ISBN: 9780415840521.

Fitzpatrick, J (2017) Three Sixteenth-Century Dietaries, Manchester University Press, ISBN: 9780719081132.

Norwood, T (2022) "Love as it is manifested in institutions": reflections on the art and science of bereavement care in the neonatal ward, Pediatric E-Journal: Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care, (67: Bereavement), pp.3-4.

Norwood, T (2021) Something good enough, The Lancet, 398(10318), pp.2305-2306, ISSN: 0140-6736. DOI: 10.1016/s0140-6736(21)02690-8.

Norwood, T and Boulton, J (2021) Reconciling the uniquely embodied grief of perinatal death: a narrative approach, Religions, 12(11), 976, ISSN: 2077-1444. DOI: 10.3390/rel12110976.

Norwood, T (2021) Anhydramnios: birth, death, and drawing breath, Tendon: Medical Humanities Creative Journal of the Johns Hopkins Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, (4: Breath).

Norwood, T (2021) Metaphor and neonatal death: how stories can help when a baby dies at birth, Life Writing, 18(1), pp.113-124, ISSN: 1448-4528. DOI: 10.1080/14484528.2021.1871705.

Norwood, T (2021) Metaphor and neonatal death: how stories can help when a baby dies at birth. In Cardell, K (ed) Essays in Life Writing, Routledge,ISBN: 9781032107394.

Norwood, T (2024) The Song of the Whole Wide World: On Grief, Motherhood and Poetry

Adiseshiah, S (2023) Old Age, Gender, and Constructions of the Contemporary, Journal of the British Academy, 11(2), DOI: 10.5871/jba/011s2.033.

Adiseshiah, S, Culley, A, Shears, J (2023) Introduction: Narratives of Old Age and Gender: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives, Journal of the British Academy, 11s2, pp.1-10, DOI: 10.5871/jba/011s2.001.

Adiseshiah, S (2022) Ageing as crisis on the twenty-first-century British stage. In Wallace, C, Escoda, C, Monforte, E, Prado-Pérez, JR (ed) Crisis, Representation and Resilience: Perspectives on Contemporary British Theatre, Bloomsbury, pp.21-38, ISBN: 9781350180857. DOI: 10.5040/

Exhibition: Health from Cradle to Grave: Birthing Chair to Death Couch

Where: Martin Hall Exhibition Space

When: 27 March -23 April 2024

Gallery Opening times 12-2 Monday to Wednesday (excluding Bank Holidays)

Click here for full details.

Past events:

Research Panel: Professor Mary Fissell Johns Hopkins, Dr Sara Read and Doctoral Researcher Hannah Palmer, Tues 21 Nov 2023.

British Academy funded Symposium: 'Health & Medical Humanities in the Midlands', 27 April 2023. Read Hannah Palmer's account of this event in The Polyphony.

Research Panel and Publication Launch: Women's Writing about Health and Illness' Dr Jennifer Evans University of Hertfordshire and Dr Claire O'Callaghan from the Research Group gave papers on their articles in the special edition of Women's Writing co-edited by Dr Sara Read and Dr Jennifer Evans, 13 December 2022.

Research Panel: Doctoral Researchers Megan Constable and Rai Powell gave papers and readings about their practice-led creative writing doctoral research into representations of blindness and autism in YA fiction, 26 October 2022.