Tag Archives: Books and Reviews

The woman doctor as medical and moral authority: Helen Brent MD

Carol-Ann Farkas Boston, Massachussetts, United States   In the late nineteenth century, many women who dared to study and practice medicine tempered that radical move with the reassuring insistence that, by virtue of their sex, they could combine medical knowledge with feminine, maternal guidance for the physical and moral well-being of their patients. The gender […]

George Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma

In the first act of Shaw’s play, several doctors come to congratulate Sir Colenso Ridgeon, recently knighted for discovering that white blood cells will not eat invading microbes unless they are rendered appetizing by being nicely buttered with opsonins. Patients supposedly manufacture these opsonins on and off, and would be cured if inoculated when their […]

The anatomy of bibliotherapy: how fiction heals, part III

Dustin Grinnell  Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche. Photo by Gustav Schultze. 1882. Taken from Nietzsche by Walter Kaufmann, Fourth Edition. Public Domain. A cure for loneliness In the video “What is Literature For?” produced by The School of Life, author Alain de Botton claims that books are a cure for loneliness. Since […]

The anatomy of bibliotherapy: how fiction heals, part II

Dustin Grinnell  Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Frontispiece to the 6th edition of Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (published under the pseudonym Democritus Junior). 1868. From the Internet Archive and the Public Domain Review. The placebo effect When first exploring literature’s psychological effects on the reader, it is important to consider whether a book can […]

The anatomy of bibliotherapy: how fiction heals, part I

Dustin Grinnell  Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Man Reading Book showing cityscape, suggesting an Open Doorway. From iStock. Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. —Rudyard Kipling Literature is medicine for the soul In the 1980s, the mother of Northrop Frye, a Canadian literary scholar, was in the hospital, ill and delirious. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]