Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Making the fur fly

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 13 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1265
  1. Theodore Dalrymple
  1. writer and retired doctor

    Here is a question for lovers of arcane and useless knowledge: which Germanophone authors with a medical background first published on the neuroanatomy of fish? The answer is Sigmund Freud, and, before him, Georg Büchner.

    Büchner (1813-37) died at the same age as Keats, though from typhus rather than tuberculosis, and never qualified as a doctor but intended to do so and came from a family whose medical lineage stretched back two centuries. His brother, Ludwig, did qualify as a doctor and wrote a militantly materialist philosophical tract, Kraft und Stoff (Force and Matter), which was famous in its time and which exerted a great influence on the Russian revolutionary movement of the second half of the …

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