The Recuperation of Humanism in the Context of the Martial Society: Homer, Anton Schneeberger, Kurt Lewin, and Narrative Medicine


  • Katarzyna Jerzak Pomeranian Academy in Slupsk, Poland



humanism, narrative medicine, psychology, war, martial society, storytelling


The humanist tradition developed in the Renaissance that not only cultivated the human spirit but applied its knowledge for the purpose of improving society across various humanist and scientific disciplines is not altogether extinct. Using the erudite Swiss physician and botanist Anton Schneeberger (1530–1581) as a founding father of sorts of modern humanist medicine confronted with war, I discuss the recuperation of humanism in the twentieth century, first in the thought of psychologist Kurt Lewin (1890–1947) who, under war circumstances, produced a work whose analytical acumen can still be used today, and subsequently in the creation of the discipline of narrative medicine that, unwittingly perhaps, echoes Schneeberger’s insight into the imperative of inserting storytelling into the practice of both patient- and physician-centered medicine. In the background of the argument is the existence of a new society, a martial society that functions as if there were war despite its ostensible state of peace.


Download data is not yet available.


Brodsky, Joseph. “The Condition We Call Exile.” The New York Review of Books, January 21, 1988.

Buber, Martin. I and Thou. New York: Touchstone, 1970.

Grafton, Anthony. Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450–1800. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Jardine, Lisa. “C. P. Snow’s Two Cultures Revisited.” Christ’s College Cambridge Magazine, no. 235 (2010): 49–57, available online.

Lewin, Kurt. “Kriegslandschaft.” Zeitschrift für angewandte Psychologie 12 (1917): 440–447.

Rowland, Ingrid D. “Abacus and Humanism.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 48, no. 4, 1995, pp. 695–727. DOI:

Schneeberger, Anton. De bona militum valetudine conservanda liber, ed. by Stanisław Ilnicki, trans. by Robert A. Sucharski. DIG: Warsaw, 2008.

Shay, Jonathan. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat trauma and the undoing of character. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Shay, Jonathan. Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming. New York: Scribner, 2002.

Stover, Justin. “There is no Case for the Humanities.” American Affairs 1, no. 4 (2017): 210–224, available online.

Weinstein, Arnold. A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life. New York: Random House, 2003.



18. 12. 2020




How to Cite

Jerzak, Katarzyna. 2020. “The Recuperation of Humanism in the Context of the Martial Society: Homer, Anton Schneeberger, Kurt Lewin, and Narrative Medicine”. Clotho 2 (2): 89-100.