Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Curing crime

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 03 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2240
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Even Homer nods, so Horace said, by which he meant that even the greatest poets sometimes write dud lines; or, as Somerset Maugham put it, only a very mediocre writer is always at his best.

    G K Chesterton was a brilliant writer with an oeuvre so vast that it was inevitably of variable quality. Many of his aphorisms involved a reversal of terms, as in one that should be put up in neon lights in the office of every minister of health: “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”

    In 1912, he published a rather strange and not altogether satisfactory metaphysical novel …

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