Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The future of medicine

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 21 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6345
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

The manuscript of the first novel by one of the most famous of all doctor-authors, Arthur Conan Doyle, was lost in the post on its way to the publishers: a disaster for an author in the days before computers, photocopiers, typewriters, or even carbon paper. But Conan Doyle was nothing if not plucky, to use a slightly old fashioned term for an old fashioned virtue: he tried to reconstitute the novel by writing it out again, only to realise halfway through that it would never do, to paraphrase the critic, Francis Jeffrey, on the subject of Wordsworth’s poetry.

The manuscript of the incomplete novel, The Narrative of John Smith, has recently been published by the British Library, where it resides. It …

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