Tag Archives: Literary Vignettes

The romantic suicide: Karoline von Günderrode

Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Karoline von Günderrode portrait. Unknown artist. Via Wikimedia. No known restrictions on publication. Suicide, often occurring as an impulsive gesture or from underlying depression, has long been an important cause of death among young people, as exemplified within recent memory by the wave of suicides that followed […]

August Von Platen, inspiration for Death in Venice

Nicolas Roberto Robles Bandajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Portrait of August Graft von Platen. Unknown Author – Holzstich 1879 In Gustav Adolf von Klöden: “Unser Deutsches Land und Volk” (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München/Porträtsammlung). Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. Weil da, wo Schönheit waltet, Liebe waltet Because where beauty reigns, love reigns – Sonette aus Venedig.   August […]

Who is “Dr. Filth”?

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Child survivors of Auschwitz, wearing adult-size prisoner jackets, stand behind a barbed wire fence. The group includes a few twins. Still from the Soviet Film of the liberation of Auschwitz by the film unit of the First Ukrainian Front-Alexander Voronzow. 1945. Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. Bob Dylan’s song “Desolation Row” […]

Indo-European for health professionals

Logo of the Asiatic Society of Bengal depicting Sir William Jones. 1905. Via Wikimedia. The Indo-Europeans were a group of people whose language is presumed to be the ancestor of most modern languages spoken in Europe and in parts of Asia. They left behind almost no tangible evidence of their existence other than some funeral […]

Art or science, doctor or shaman?

Ihar Kazak Florida, United States    BEFORE: Centuries ago, such ailment was treated by a shaman. Image credit: A surgeon treating an injury to a man’s foot. Oil painting by a follower of David Teniers the younger. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark It all started with a scratch on my right ankle during a close […]

Omphalos

Margaret Nowaczyk Hamilton, Ontario, Canada   Chambered Nautilus Shell – detail. Photo by Jitze Couperus. 2008. Via Flickr CC BY 2.0 Once, I linked you to the woman who gave birth to you: for forty weeks, a twisted pearly cord, pulsing with two syncopated heartbeats, bound you two together. It fed you and gave you […]

A Regency epitaph for a child

Stephen Martin County Durham, UK   In some spot where common herbage grows Perchance a violet rears its purple head: Some careful gardener plucks it ere it blows To spread and flourish in a nobler bed: Such was thy fate dear child, thy opening such Pre-eminence in early bloom was shown: Too good for earth […]

Companionable books

“Many books are dry and dusty, there is no juice in them; and many are soon exhausted, you would no more go back to them than to a squeezed orange; but some have in them an unfailing sap, both from the tree of knowledge and from the tree of life. “By companionable books I mean […]

Sir Charles Symonds 1890-1978 , the neurologist’s neurologist

There was a time when medical practitioners in England would refer their difficult cases to a neurologist paid by the health services to come once a week to consult at the local hospital. Faced with a difficult or puzzling case, this consultant neurologist would send the patient to be seen at the National Hospital for […]

Haunting poetic characteristics: the dissection scene from Doctor Zhivago

Timo Hannu Helsinki, Finland   Dissecting room from Edinburgh in 1889. Source: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. Doctor Zhivago, a novel by the Russian poet Boris Pasternak, tells the story of physician-poet Yura Zhivago during the turmoil of the first decades of the twentieth century in Russia. The character of Dr. Zhivago is portrayed as […]