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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The death of the author

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 25 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2717
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    It takes skill to change a person’s attitude, even slightly, especially when that person is, like me, obdurate by nature and past middle age in the life cycle. But Professor David Ellis, author of the lucid and moving Death and the Author: How D H Lawrence Died, and Was Remembered (Oxford University Press, 2008), has caused me to revise upwards my opinion of Lawrence, at least as a man if not as a writer.

    Lawrence died from tuberculosis, of course, as did many other writers. So many of them, in fact, died from the disease that one is inclined to suppose that it was an occupational hazard of a devotion to literature: proof, no doubt, of the danger of …

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