Tag Archives: Michael Shulman

Florence Nightingale, The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale visiting the sick.  Wellcome Library, London For generations, Florence Nightingale has been known as the Saintly Angel of Mercy or the Lady with the Lamp, and her story has been told many times. She arrived in Scutari in November of 1854 with thirty-eight women volunteers, sent by her close friend, the war secretary, […]

A fatal and mysterious illness

Michael D. Shulman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   In late 1972, a flurry of letters began to appear in the British medical journal The Lancet which captured the alarm, the bafflement, and the intense professional curiosity aroused by a mysterious new illness. The illness was unique to patients receiving hemodialysis, typically those who had been […]

Starvation as metaphor

Michael Shulman  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “Boy and Girl at Cahera” (1847) Image of the Great Famine for middle-class readers of London Illustrated News.  The mystery of Food Increased till I abjured it And dine without Like God — Emily Dickinson Susan Sontag’s 1978 essay Illness as Metaphor,1 published in serial form in The […]

Saints on trial

Michael D. Shulman New Hope, Pennsylvania, USA    The Lady with the Lamp There is an irresistible sub-genre of literature devoted to the moral takedown of saints and would-be saints, and it has brought forth contributions from some of the masters of English prose. One thinks especially of George Orwell’s portrait of Gandhi (“Saints should […]