Madame Bovary and the Institutional Transformation of Pharmacy
Author: Duffy, Larry
Source: Dix-Neuf, Volume 15, Number 1, April 2011 , pp. 70-82(13)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:Discussion of Flaubert's pharmacist Homais has tended to focus on his overbearing personality and representativity of bourgeois values. This essay looks instead at the epistemological and disciplinary substance of his pronouncements on pharmacy for the ways in which they articulate the development of early nineteenth-century pharmacy as a profession. Contextualizing Homais and Charles Bovary as representatives of their respective medical domains in the aftermath of reforms enacted during the Empire, this essay reads the novel alongside texts emblematic of an institutionally reshaped pharmacy. First, it examines material from the influential Bulletin de Pharmacie, which from 1809 to 1814 articulated a new vision of pharmacy — shared by Homais — as 'philosophical' science in the manner of Lavoisier's chemistry. Second, it scrutinizes the 'opuscules scientifiques' by Guillaume Dubuc, a Rouen pharmacist, for the strong correlation between these and numerous pronouncements by Homais. Rather than seek in this correlation a real-life model for Homais, the essay identifies what Foucault refers to as 'les conditions de fonctionnement de pratiques discursives spécifiques', in this case the institutional conditions shaping pharmaceutical and literary discourse.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-04-01