Soundings

Jane Austen's doctors and patients

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7055.498 (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:498
  1. George Dunea

    An inexorable natural selection ordains that works of art that survive 200 years are likely to have outstanding merit. So then with Jane Austen's novels, enjoying a recent upsurge in popularity, in films and on television, and also allowing us to catch a few glimpses of the medical practice of the times. Compared with modern American doctors, the surgeons and apothecaries of 1800 were poorer and less exalted in status. Thus in Sanditon Sam is “only a surgeon,” and Miss Edwards's parents are looking “much higher.” But with American medicine on a slippery slope since the 1970s, the new generation of American …

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