By Iain Bamforth
During this wide-reaching abecedarium, health professional and poet Iain Bamforth dissects the clash of values embodied in what we name medicinenever fullyyt a technological know-how and not relatively the artwork it was once. Bamforth brings to endure his adventure of medication from around the globe, from the hightech American health facility of Paris to neighborhood well-being centres of Papua, with his enticing curiosity within the stranger manifestations of clinical concerns in terms of paintings, literature and tradition. Drawing at the lives and concepts of a few of Europe’s most
celebrated writers, from Auden to Zola with stop-offs on the likes of Darwin, Kafka, Orwell, Proustand Weil alongside the best way, Bamforth deals insightful and witty diagnoses of the tradition of drugs within the sleek age.
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Additional resources for A Doctor's Dictionary: Writings on Culture & Medicine
He has made a discovery, and it isn’t medical but mythic. In the great Lie, wrote Hitler, there is always a certain force of credibility. It is the powerful who smile this way: it is a signal of their ironic treatment of social conventions, as if laws existed only for the stupid. Knock has found a way to deflect hubris. By deflecting it from himself, he obliges Nemesis to visit those who take him at his word. Nemesis is userfriendly and not at all dramatic, ladies and gentlemen, for these are modern times—Nemesis is the realisation that desire is both prerational and manufactured to the highest quality standards.
Our apprentice knowledge of anatomy had already been informed by allied disciplines, and was broadened by twice-weekly lectures on form and function delivered before we entered the cold dissection room. It was hard to appreciate then, raking someone’s gizzard, that being a good doctor would entail getting beyond the old Indo-European conceptual metaphor ‘knowing-is-seeing’: knowing in medicine is just as much listening and touching. ) But what can a ‘laterally expanded’ whole-body preparation convey to an observer whose only previous sense-impressions of lateral expansion have been in gore movies?
Indeed, Dr Parpalaid’s 41 anarchism—of the utopian, non-bombing, moralistic kind extolled by Tolstoy—looks mostly like a practical philosophy for smallholders. All of this is old hat to Knock. His ideal of social organisation is a form of hygiene organised around himself as ‘continual creator’ and saviour. His method is finely calculated and carefully organised. He assiduously acquaints himself with the incomes of his clients. Blackboard, anatomical chart and reflecting laryngoscope are used to devastating effect in his surgery.
A Doctor's Dictionary: Writings on Culture & Medicine by Iain Bamforth