By William Shakespeare
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Additional info for A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Pelican Shakespeare)
Like her fictional counterparts, Nightingale came home from her triumphs a patient. She returned from the Crimea in shattered health and within two years had settled into the life of the confirmed valetudinarian surrounded by a chosen few who ministered to her wants — both professional and companionate. It is generally supposed that Nightingale had no organic disease. Though from time to time her doctors concurred that she was on the very brink of death she not only lived until the age of ninety, but continued to work indefatigably for, among other things, the reformation of the Royal Army Medical Services in England and then in India.
The relations between nurse and patient, on the other hand, are portrayed as tender, reciprocal, and mutually constitutive. Unlike the doctor who diagnoses and prescribes, the function of the nurse is to comfort and to serve. 57 The interaction between the nurse and patient in Victorian fiction is characterized by a combination of submission and authority, self-abnegation, and self-assertion, with the sick body providing the mediating term by which these apparent opposites can be simultaneously expressed and reconciled, and their destructive aspects neutralized.
52 The erotic possibilities of the female invalid were more overtly promoted in the latter years of the century by George Du Maurier's hugely successful Trilby, for instance, or by Eliza Linton's suggestion in The Girl of the Period that ill-health properly manifested in "fragility" and "the long, loose folds of falling drapery" can revive marital passion: " Many a drifting husband has been brought back to his first enthusiasm by the illness of a wife who knew how to turn evil things into good, and to extract a charm even out of suffering.
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