Prescriptions: Medicine and Literature

This essay studies two important theoretical terms that relate both to medicine and literature: (1) Derrida’s pharmakon, which is both a poison and a cure, and which also stands in for writing itself; (2) semiotics, which is now typically understood as a literary theoretical term, but was once a medical term, describing the science of interpreting signs. The essay attempts to use these insights to help understand the cultural represention of modern diseases like AIDS.

“Prescriptions: Medicine and Literature.” Mosaic 33.4 (December 2000) 179-92.