Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Kinds of monsters

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 05 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6746
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

When I was a small boy I picked every last bud from the red peony bushes in the garden and presented them to my father. “Look, Daddy,” I said. “Cherries.” I was beaten with a bamboo cane for my conscientiousness, but I have not held it against peonies.

I was reminded of this incident by the beginning of Stephen Crane’s novella The Monster, published in 1897. Crane (1871-1900) is mostly remembered for his novel about the US civil war, The Red Badge of Courage.

The Monster takes place in a small town called Whilomville. At the beginning of the story, Dr Trescott’s little …

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