A happy doctor's escape from narrative: Reflection in Saturday

Catherine Belling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The humanities have, in their application to medicine, become almost synonymous with narrative. When medical education turned to 'reflection' as a means to nurture coherent and ethical professional identity, interventions tended to take narrative as their primary form. Even while promoting 'mindfulness' as complete engagement in the present moment, proponents of reflection sometimes subsume reflection under the category 'narrative'. The author offers a reading of Ian McEwan's novel Saturday, the account of the thoughts of a London surgeon over the course of one day, attending to the novel's reflective and lyrical as well as its narrative passages, in order to suggest that, rather than grouping the various forms that constitute 'literature' into a single instrumental method for producing more professional and ethical doctors, it might be valuable to attend to the various modes that constitute literary discourse, of which narrative is only one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-6
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Humanities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Philosophy


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