Professional Cosmopolitanism in the Medical Bildungsroman: Narrating the Global Relevance of the Doctor’s Local Practice in Abraham Verghese’s My Own Country and Atul Gawande’s Complications

Neeraja Sundaram


This paper studies two memoirs written by second-generation immigrant doctors, Atul Gawande’s Complications and Abraham Verghese’s My Own Country, to argue that they take the form of a medical Bildungsroman. In the medical Bildungsroman, the doctor-narrator instantiates a narrative circumscribing of the period of youth and the “performance” of acquiring expertise as a means of insinuating himself into a wider community. I will examine this “circumscribing” of an individual and filial “self” and the eventual “social” integration of the doctor via three main sections/levels – the Individual, the Filial and the Community.


memoir; Bildungsroman; medicine; narrative

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