Tales of old mortalityBMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3283 (Published 24 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3283
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
Like many a famous author, Walter Scott (1771-1832) had a doctor in the family: his maternal grandfather, John Rutherford, who studied in Leiden, was awarded his MD at Rheims, became professor of physic at Edinburgh, was the first man in Britain to teach medicine to students at the bedside, and delivered his lectures in Latin, in which language he was said to be more fluent than in his native tongue.
John Gibson Lockhart’s Life of Sir Walter Scott is often said to be the second greatest literary biography in English, (long) after Boswell, of course. At the beginning of the work is a short memoir of his early life by Scott himself, which is …