Is there such a thing as Romantic medicine? The literary classification of Romanticism and the practice of medicine might initially appear to be incompatible; the former being a cultural form that encompasses ideas about originality, imagination and experience, the latter concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. However, the medical historian Roy Porter suggests that while there was little development in the practice of medicine in Britain during the Romantic period (‘those years [did not] bring a revolution in medicine and in health’ –1999, 170) there was a transformation in the understanding of the body. Although the Romantic era neither transformed the practice of medicine nor drastically altered life expectancy, addressing ‘the experience of the body and of suffering was an essential component in that journey into the self that constitutes … the Romantic interlude’ (ibid., 177). Porter suggests that there was a shift from an earlier view of the body as an ahistorical entity responding to the universal laws of physics to one which detected a symbiotic relationship between the self, society and sickness. The body and its suffering can be read as socially constructed entities, the consideration of which intersects with the larger cultural concerns of Romanticism such as personal and political liberty, the conflict between that which is natural and that which is socially constructed, and the distinction between individual solitude and communal responsibility.