Views & Reviews The best medicine

The magic of words

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 08 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:996
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitioner, Crossmaglen, County Armagh
  1. William.Farrell{at}

    In the small yet dull world of the medical columnist, the use of quotations is considered rather jejeune and naff. Meant to imply a deep breadth of scholarship—that the writer curls up each night with a good dose of Seneca and a tincture of Molière—what it really means is a well thumbed Big Book of Quotations, kept in the bathroom, to be consulted at length while the Great Writer strains away.

    But an ear for the telling phrase remains an indispensable part of the columnist's armoury, …

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