Unassigned Reading

Recommended summer reading for those interested in the history of medicine.


Oliver Wendell Holmes, the nineteenth-century doctor and poet, once said that “The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over his library, ‘The medicines of the soul.’” REMEDIA has collected thoughts from writers and academics working in the medical humanities about the texts beyond their discipline which have influenced their ideas and research. The recommendations below may well be the perfect tonic for your summer vacation.

from Thomas W. Laqueur, Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor, UC Berkeley.

haffenden-poems_of_empsonTwenty years ago my friend, the literary scholar Paul Alpers, now dead, sent me a poem by William Empson called “Ignorance of Death.” The last stanza reads:

Otherwise I feel very blank upon this topic,
And think that though important,
and proper for anyone to bring up,
It is one that most people should be prepared to be blank upon.

The poet’s call for epistemological…

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