This anthology frames a rich selection of fiction and nonfiction with astute and helpful introductions to issues in nineteenth-century medicine and the larger culture in which it participated. The fiction is comprised of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Steel Windpipe in its entirety; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, "The Doctors of Hoyland" from Round the Red Lamp; and selections from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Sarah Orne Jewett’s A Country Doctor, Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith, Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, W. Somserset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, George Moore’s Esther Waters, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Eugène Sue’s Les Mystères de Paris, and Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne [the full-length versions of many of the above have been annotated in this database]. The nonfiction consists of two versions of the Hippocratic Oath, two American Medical Association statements of ethics, and selections from Daniel W. Cathell’s The Physician Himself (1905).


This is a superb teaching resource as well as an enjoyable pleasure-read for medical students, pre-medical students, health professionals, and anyone interested in the history of the present as it pertains to Western medicine examined in its social context. The excerpts are well selected and long enough to represent the issues and the larger texts. The selected professional documents are an effective complement to the literary readings.

What is particularly good about this volume, however, is the editorial text. The general introduction offers a valuable short history of significant changes in nineteenth-century medicine and its sociocultural environment. The introductory matter to each selection contextualizes the excerpts in terms of both the fuller text and the historical context, and (most valuable of all) closes with a set of questions the piece raises. The questions are clearly attuned to an audience of pre-medical students, medical students, and/or health professionals, but would be valuable in many other contexts as well.


State University of New York Press

Place Published

Albany, N.Y.




Lilian R. Furst

Page Count