Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Nothing to be sad about

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 29 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a3088
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Within a radius of a few miles of the hospital in which I worked were a number of what were once called dosshouses. (We laugh at the Victorians who supposedly covered up the erotically suggestive legs of pianos, but we routinely disguise realities with euphemisms.)

    A certain specific kind of solidarity reigned in the dosshouses. The residents arranged for their social security payments to be paid on different days, so there was always money enough for the 3 l bottles of strong cider that were their main interest in life, the lack of which would cause them acute suffering. But that was the only real solidarity they showed.

    Reading Maxim Gorky’s play The Lower …

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