Views & Reviews Between the lines

The therapy of obedience

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 01 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:941
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    It is more difficult these days than ever before to be a literary doctor, what with continuing medical education, revalidation, 360 degree appraisal, the research assessment exercise, and other hobgoblins of the bureaucratic mind, to say nothing of the increase in the actual work to be done.

    Time was, however, when even the busiest doctors could retire to their studies and write occasional essays. One such was the Edinburgh physician John Brown, who was born in 1810 and died in 1882. He was famous for his Horae Subsecivae, that is to say Idle or Stolen Hours, a collection of miscellaneous essays that were reprinted many times, but are now forgotten except, perhaps, by the silverfish …

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