Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Doctor is Sick

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7407 (Published 02 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7407
  1. Peter Davies, freelance journalist, London
  1. petergdavies{at}ntlworld.com

Admission to hospital proved to be a turning point for writer and composer Anthony Burgess. In 1959 he became a patient at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London. This heralded 12 months of hyperactivity during which he completed five novels: the first was The Doctor is Sick and the last, his most famous, A Clockwork Orange (BMJ 2011;342:d1266, doi=10.1136/bmj.d1266). Aged 42, he had previously published only four novels; when he died aged 76, he had written 33.

Burgess’s explanation for his creative outburst was that he wanted to provide for his wife: while …

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