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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

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BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 29 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3982
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

It is a startling thought that the population of Renaissance Florence was smaller than that of present day Croydon. I may be mistaken, of course, but I doubt whether tourists, in half a millennium’s time, will flock to Croydon in such numbers that it will be difficult to find accommodation there.

In like fashion, small islands are surprisingly productive of literature. Perhaps this is because they are like culture flasks of human nature. Passions run high in small communities, and where little happens small events are examined with minute attention.

George Mackay Brown (1921–1996) was born in the Orkney Islands and, except for a few years of belated studies in Edinburgh, spent his whole life there. It is said …

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