Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A note on medical metaphors

    JMS PearceHull, England When Winston Churchill memorably referred to his bouts of depression as “black dog,” in two words he painted a picture that embraced feelings, which otherwise would have taken hundreds of words to describe. I have to confess a liking for certain medical metaphors. Though they can be overused in medical and biological…

  • Friedrich Nietzsche—much afflicted philosopher

    Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers of the nineteenth century. Though often misinterpreted, his influence has been enormous. Like his compatriot Schopenhauer, he questioned the comfortable beliefs of the conservative bourgeoisie of his time. His writings have fascinated generations of readers, his style was exquisite, his ideas original. Bertrand Russell called him…

  • Is history good for you? Pros and cons

    Pro “ . . . a page of history is worth a volume of logic.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana “A people without history is like wind on the buffalo grass.” – Sioux proverb “[History is] a pact between the dead,…

  • Medicinal leeches in art and literature

    Martin DukeMystic, Connecticut, United States For more than two thousand years, the extraordinary blood-sucking abilities of the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) provided physicians with an unusual if not bizarre alternative to venesection, cupping, and scarification for blood-letting their patients (Figure 1). This therapeutic use of leeches was described in the writings of Hippocrates, Galen, Nicander…

  • The anatomy of bibliotherapy: How fiction heals, part III

    Dustin Grinnell Boston, Massachusetts, United States 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 we cannot always say what we are really thinking in civilized conversations, literature often describes who we genuinely are more…

  • “Something monomanical”: obsession and the unity of effect

    Jack Rosser Herefordshire, England, United Kingdom   A portrait of Poe in 1848, not long prior to his passing in 1849. The concept of monomania first gathered popularity in France at the beginning of the nineteenth century; the term “referred to a type of mental disorder in which a person would have fixed, and often…