The interesting question of the neurotic heartBMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a700 (Published 07 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a700
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
You can tell the age of an old book to within 20 or 30 years by such attributes as its font, the paper on which it is printed, and its cover. For example, there was a vogue at the end of the 19th century for covers of heavy boards with bevelled edges and coloured the deepest burgundy. They gave to the volume a weightiness that was not merely physical: read me and be serious, they seemed to say on behalf of the book within.
Medical works were often produced in this format, and I have a small collection of them. A surprising proportion of them are inscribed “With the compliments of the author,” suggesting either that they were more often given away by their …