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A Doctor's Dictionary

Writings on Culture and Medicine

Iain Bamforth

A Doctor's Dictionary
10% off eBook (EPUB)
Categories: 21st Century, Art, British, Scottish
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (328 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2015)
9781784100568
Out of Stock
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jan 2015)
9781784100575
£16.99 £15.29
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • In this pithy abecedarium, doctor and poet Iain Bamforth takes a close look at the conflict of values embodied in what we call medicine – never entirely a science and no longer quite the art it used to be. Bamforth brings his wide experience of medicine around the world, from the high-tech American Hospital of Paris to the community health centres of Papua, together with his engaging interest in the stranger manifestations of medical matters in relation to art, literature and culture – such as the mysterious ‘Stendhal’s syndrome’, which caused 106 tourists in Florence to be hospitalised due to an overload of sublime Renaissance art.

     'Many of the most interesting moments in A Doctor's Dictionary are thrown up almost in passing, such as the specifically English nature of "fairness" as a concept, the concordance of Pasteur's germ theory with his hatred of mass society, and Hitler's possibly life-changing experience of being treated for "hysterical blindness" in the First World War [...] a cabinet of curiosities with a more serious underlying theme of humanity in medicine'. - 'Humane Acts',  Times Literary Supplement 11.12.2015.

    Iain Bamforth grew up in Glasgow and graduated from its medical school. He has pursued a peripatetic career as a hospital doctor, general practitioner, translator, lecturer in comparative literature, and latterly public health consultant in several developing countries, principally in Asia. His four books of poetry were joined by a fifth, ... read more
    Praise for Iain Bamforth  'Even at its most ornate, the style is not quite ostentatious - it's more akin to the apparently effortless figurations of an Olympic-class artist of the ice rink... it exemplifies Bamforth's all-encompassing curiosity and intellectual agility.'
    Jonathan Buckley, TLS
    'The wandering mind will find bountiful rewards in Iain Bamforth's Zest: Essays on the Art of Living... It is a remarkable, sometimes provocative, tour de force as the author escorts us from the Garden of Eden to Provence, from Apulia to Papua. For a series of incidental essays that have been described as "digressive and droll," Zest actually possesses a remarkable coherence. It is the perfect volume to dip into if you want respite from the social whirl of the upcoming festive season.'
    Nicky Gardner, Hidden Europe
    'This collection is a joy to read, full of so much nuance, and persuasive language, a permanent wistfulness that never strays into the twee and the constant sense of travel, of movement and growth.'
    Matt Macdonald, Scottish Review of Books
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