Tender is the NightBMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39414.492153.0F (Published 06 December 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1215
- Giskin Day, course director: medical humanities, Department of Humanities, Imperial College London, London
Tender is the Night is one of the earliest works of fiction to feature a distinctly modern psychiatrist as a major character. The novel documents a pivotal point in the literary depiction of psychiatric medicine. It is predicated on knowledge of Freudian concepts and shows acute awareness of increasing medical specialisation, yet the character of Dick Diver echoes many of the traits that Victorian authors found alluring of doctors as literary characters.
Dick and Nicole Diver are a wealthy, successful couple holidaying amid adoring acolytes. They saccharinely refer to themselves as the conjunction “Dicole,” and seem for all the world to be the perfect couple. As the narrative unfolds, the …