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Browner Recognized for Profound Work

After ten years of writing and researching, during which time she co-authored another book and had two children, Berea's Dean of the Faculty Stephanie Browner published her book Profound Science and Elegant Literature: Imagining Doctors in Nineteenth-Century America to critical acclaim.

Stephanie Browner and the cover of her book, "Profound Science and Elegant Literature."

"Profound Science" was chosen as an Outstanding Academic Titles by the American Library Association's review magazine, Choice. Every year Choice publishes a list of from works that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list contains the best scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the recognition and respect of the academic library community. Only ten percent of titles make it onto the list every year.

"I write (or seek to get my writing published) only when I believe I finally have something worth saying to others," says Browner about the praise. "So, it is good to hear that others have found the book valuable."

When asked why the book's topic was so engaging for her, Browner explained, "I am very interested in how we think about the body. Today, medicine plays a major role in how we understand our bodies, and so I became interested in the rise of medicine's prestige and authority. Since literature is my field and my passion, I wanted to think about how literature represented the emergence of the doctor as the preeminent professional in America."

Judith A. Dompkowski of Canisius College reviewed Browner's book for Choice in September 2005. As Dompkowski's review explained, "Browner argues that doctors, after a long period in the 19th century when their work was suspect, emerged in the 20th century 'as men of profound science, elegant literature, polite accomplishments, and virtue.' [This] meticulous study of the descent and ascent of medical reputations considers fiction and visual art of the 19th and 20th centuries, along with medical journals and letters circulated among members of the profession. [It] is both comprehensive and utterly readable."

Profound Science has become an important addition to its field. According to the website "Find In A Library," the book can now be found in approximately 240 college and university libraries worldwide, including the Library of Congress.

After ten years of work on Profound Science, what comes next for Browner? "For the last year I didn't have a clue what I would do next," she said, "but just this past month I finally settled on something that excites me. I started my research just a few weeks ago. This one shouldn't take ten years!"

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