Making the fur flyBMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1265 (Published 13 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1265
- Theodore Dalrymple
- 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 …