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Medicine is theme of current Lapham's Quarterly, a scholarly journal of old and new

lq.jpgThe fall Lapham's Quarterly is a theme issue on medicine, pulling together all kinds of textual treaures if you're interested in medical history and literature. A few that caught my eye: The explication of yin and yang from the The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine (2650 B.C.); a vivid journal entry from a 16th century medical student/grave robber (try sprinkling vinegar on the lungs to counter the horrible smell); and excerpts from the book by Elizabeth Blackwell on her experiences as the first female doctor in the United States.

Blackwell's 1847 diary describes her struggle to get into medical school and includes this funny/infuriating/inspiring passage:

During these fruitless efforts my kindly Quaker adviser, whose private lectures I attended, said to me, "Elizabeth, it is of no use trying. You cannot gain admission to these schools. You must go to Paris and don masculine attire to gain the necessary knowledge." ...

But neither the advice to go to Paris nor the suggestion of disguise tempted me for a moment. It was to my mind a moral crusade on which I had entered, a course of justice and common sense, and it must be pursued in the light of day, and with public sanction, in order to accomplish its end.

The journal isn't all history--there's literature (from John Donne to Joan Didion) and current commentary too.

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