Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Poet scorner

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4098 (Published 28 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4098
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    It pains me to have to admit it, but not every member of our profession who ever lived was endowed with a sense of humour. Among those who were not is James Kennedy, author of Conversations on Religion with Lord Byron and Others, Held in Cephalonia, a Short Time Previous to His Lordship’s Death, published posthumously in 1830.

    Dr Kennedy was a military doctor stationed in the Ionian island of Cephallonia when Lord Byron arrived. An earnest evangelical, Dr Kennedy sought to convert his lordship to Christianity, a thankless task. He did not see the irony of it.

    According to the doctor, Byron was always prone to say what was witty or “smart”; truth was with him a secondary consideration. …

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