An eminent surgeon, who has written books on the history of medicine and cartography, profiles physicians past and present who have also published works in the humanities.
Throughout history doctors have felt the need to express themselves in prose and poetry, often on subjects far removed from their medical interests. Renowned surgeon Seymour I. Schwartz felt this same compulsion to write and eventually decided to investigate other authors with a background in medicine. The result is this informative and entertaining compilation of biographical profiles spanning the Middle Ages to the present era.
In many cases, literary fame has eclipsed memory of these authors’ medical expertise: Most people today talk about Maimonides, Rabelais, Locke, Schiller, Keats, Conan Doyle, and Chekhov because of their literary works, not because they practiced medicine. But the lesser-known individuals are just as interesting in many ways: such people as Cadwallader Colden, the loyalist lieutenant governor of New York during the American Revolution, who wrote the first English history of the Iroquois; Margaret Georgina Todd, author of popular novels in the Victorian era, which promoted the idea of women in medicine; and Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher, who was not only a physician, researcher, and radiologist, but played a role in the Harlem Renaissance as an orator, musician, musical arranger, and literary figure.
Concluding with profiles of contemporary doctors who are also respected authors, this diverse collection shows that, despite increasing specialization, medicine and the humanities continue to complement each other to enrich our lives.
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