Waiting for Good Health: Medical and Dramatic Perspectives Through the Irish Poor Law Medical System, 1890 – 1922

Date

2024

Authors

Mills, Mark

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Abstract

1890 to 1922 was a formative period in Irish history marked by dramatic cultural and political ferment. In this milieu, the Irish Poor Law medical system played an underappreciated role in eliciting passionate, contentious accounts of what Irish life was and should be. Debates about the Irish Poor Law medical system consistently reflected broader trends in Ireland, generating a spectrum of opinions reacting to and arguing for reforms. These debates were multidisciplinary, with physicians and playwrights participating from correspondence pages and theatrical stages, respectively. One framework for identifying the diverse intersections of these conversations is the ideal of health. Because of how the Irish Poor Law medical system closely interacted with the lives most favored by the playwrights—the rural Irish poor—the medical and dramatic sources of this period reveal multiple dimensions of health operating on individual, communal, and national levels.

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Keywords

Irish literature., Irish drama., Poor laws., Health., Ireland., Irish poor law medical service., Irish poor law medical system., Irish literary renaissance.

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