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Views & Reviews Between the lines

Illness as metaphor

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 10 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1009
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Not long ago, I published a short article in which I mentioned that some of the best people I had ever known—the only ones who seemed to me genuinely to love humanity—were nuns working in Africa. Not being religious myself, I had no particular axe to grind, and was surprised by the vehemence of the hostility my remark gave rise to. I hadn't realised that so many people loathed nuns with a terrible, if somewhat forced, loathing. But how could anyone loathe people who had devoted their lives to looking after people with leprosy, I wondered?

    In Graham Greene's novel, A Burnt-Out Case, a man called Querry (a composite …

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