Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The memoir of an opium eater

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 20 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2010
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    A friend of mine who lived for a time in America started every conversation at a party by saying, “Hello, I’m A . . . I hate my parents, don’t you?”

    He never knew his opening gambit to draw anything but assent, he said, suggesting that filial piety, like fortitude, is no longer considered a virtue these days.

    How different from Reverend George Crabbe’s charming and reverent memoir of his father, the Reverend George Crabbe, published in 1834, two years after Crabbe senior’s death.

    Crabbe senior was apprenticed to a surgeon but preferred poetry as a vocation to medicine. Nevertheless he continued all the days of his …

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