Books & Reviews – Hektoen International

Nikolai Gogol’s The Diary of a Madman

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, USA Nikolai Gogol Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809 – 1852) was a member of the first wave of great Russian authors of the nineteenth century. Born in a Ukrainian Cossack village then part of the Russian Empire, he made his way to Saint Petersburg where he found his métier in the short […]

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: a cautionary tale

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, USA   Mary Shelley 2018 marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. This remarkable work of fiction has inspired a wealth of popular currency in the form of numerous cinematic productions which have grossly distorted the public understanding of the work and obscured its literary […]

Dr. Charles Drew, Philip Roth, and race

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, USA   Charles R. Drew 1904 “My point is, if you have a course on health and whatever, then you do know Dr. Charles Drew. You’ve heard of him?” “No.” “Shame on you, Mr. Zukerman. I’ll tell you in a minute” … “You haven’t told me who Dr. Charles Drew was.” […]

Self and the Phenomenon of Life: A Biologist Examines Life from Molecules to Humanity

Ramon Lim Iowa City, Iowa, United States   Man as conceived by DaVinci. Since an early age, I have often wondered who we are (individually as well as a species) and what might be our place in the universe. I believe that the ultimate goal of science, apart from its utilitarian role, is to help […]

Through the magic door with Conan Doyle

“Father said it used to be a gentleman was known by his books.” — William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury   You are invited, gentle reader, to walk through the magic door and step into the library. Smoking is allowed, says your host, as he invites you to sit on the green settee from […]

The Craft of Medical Reflection

JTH Connor St. John’s, Newfoundland   Allan Peterkin is a professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada. As a teacher and author he is probably best known for his survival guide to post graduate medical studies, Staying Human During Residency Training:  How to Survive and Thrive after Medical School, which […]

When a movie ticket to the battered may help!

Rema Sundar Trivandrum, Kerala, India   No Discrimination! ‘The World’s Women 2015: Trends and Statistics’ by United Nations Statistics Division (Creative Commons) Domestic violence awareness through film When four-time Grammy Award winner Tracy Chapman crooned ‘Last night I heard the screaming’, she was reflecting on a global public health problem. Instances of abuse and violence […]

Queer and unked: disability, monstrosity, and George Eliot’s ‘Sympathy’

Christina Lee Kent, United Kingdom Silas finds Eppie. Eliot, George. The Jenson Society, NY. In The Mill on the Floss, the intellectual and sensitive Philip Wakem, who has a curved spine from a fall in infancy, is called “a queer fellow, a humpback, and the son of a rogue.”1([II.vi]) In the manuscript Philip Wakem is branded “queer […]

Black man, white coat

Yeji Lee Toronto, Canada There is a fine line between prejudice and experience, and it is a line that grows all the more important for someone who is a doctor. In his memoir, Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, Dr. Damon Tweedy ushers his readers through his years […]

Saul Bellow’s Doctor Adler: the achieving medical father and his non-achieving son

Solomon Posen Sydney, Australia   “I’ve learned,” old Doctor Adler lectures his oversized, untidy and bankrupt son, “to keep my sympathy for the real ailments” (42). Saul Bellow’s 1956 novella Seize the Day, arguably his finest work, is the story of a prodigal son (Tommy Wilhelm) who returns to his father, craving love as well […]