Curing crimeBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2240 (Published 03 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2240
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
Even Homer nods, so Horace said, by which he meant that even the greatest poets sometimes write dud lines; or, as Somerset Maugham put it, only a very mediocre writer is always at his best.
G K Chesterton was a brilliant writer with an oeuvre so vast that it was inevitably of variable quality. Many of his aphorisms involved a reversal of terms, as in one that should be put up in neon lights in the office of every minister of health: “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”
In 1912, he published a rather strange and not altogether satisfactory metaphysical novel …