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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Loveless oblivion

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 28 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4028
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Anna Kavan (1901-68) was the great granddaughter of Richard Bright, of Bright’s disease. She took heroin regularly for more than 30 years, wrote 18 books, and, during the time when she could not make a living by her pen, ran a property development company.

    She attributed her prolonged addiction to heroin to her loveless upbringing. In a posthumously published book of stories, Julia and the Bazooka (she called her syringe her bazooka), she wrote of herself, in the third person, that “her personality has been damaged by no love in childhood so that she can’t make contact with people or feel at home in the world.”

    She also wrote that it was a tennis coach who introduced her to …

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