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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Tuberculosis and genius

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 01 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d604
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

There was a time when readers had to cut the pages of the books they bought, and real bibliophiles don’t cut the pages when they find such an old book in the state in which it was sold. To do so seems to them almost sacrilegious, but this is to make of books an object of fetish rather than a tool of culture and intellect.

Besides, there is a satisfaction to be had from cutting the pages with a good knife and an excitement in looking at a page that no one has seen before. I recently experienced these joys with a book published in 1926, Genius: Some Revaluations, by the doctor Arthur C Jacobson (1872-1958). …

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