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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Accounts of Equatorial Africa

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 13 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3883
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

During the 1920s, Gabrielle M Vassal (1880-1959) had something of a reputation as a travel writer but is now almost entirely forgotten. She was also a big game hunter and naturalist (a strange combination to modern ears) and had a species of monkey, the yellow cheeked crested gibbon Nomascus gabriellae, named for her.

Mrs Vassal, who was English, was married to a French colonial doctor, Joseph Vassal (1867-1957), who had written a book recounting his experiences as a doctor in the Balkan theatre of the first world war, and had been an associate of such great figures as Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, discoverer of the malarial parasite; Alexandre Yersin, discoverer of the plague bacillus; and Albert Calmette, who developed the Bacillus …

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