Thursday, October 28, 2010

19th century innovation classic: Medical Essays by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

In yesterday’s blog, I shared 5 book recommendations from Dr. Verghese at Stanford University.

If you are interested in classic medical literature, I want to offer you a complimentary e-book copy of the seminal text, Medical Essays, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

This is a collection of essays by a man who defines the persona of a “poet-doctor.”

Whether Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was more poet than doctor remains debatable. He wrote poetry, prose, criticism, history, and memoir from 1830 until his death. His medical “practice” was largely confined to the training of doctors, although several of his medical research projects were path-breaking contributions to modern epidemiology.

Holmes became distinguished for his articles written on such medical issues as treatment for malaria, though his passion for writing verse was expressed in his Poems of 1836. Later, Dartmouth College appointed him professor of anatomy, but he moved to Harvard to teach and rose to the position of Dean at the Harvard Medical School.

A man of contrasts and contradictions, Holmes lived his life between the poetic and the realistic. He is a bundle of contradictions: an old-fashioned modern; a primitivist scientist; a Protestant sympathetic to Roman Catholicism; a gossipy man. In short, he was the poet-doctor of 19th-century America. He is largely, and somewhat inaccurately, remembered today as a consummate aristocrat who opposed women’s rights and believed blacks to be physiologically inferior; he also supported the admission of women to Harvard medical school and believed African-Americans to be victims of history.

Click here to download the complimentary e-book. 

No comments: