Semper Idem

London, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Aug-08-1994


Doctor Bicknell is a very respected surgeon, known for daring. For him, lives mean nothing, but cases mean everything. He is happy this morning, for a fascinating case is being released. The patient, known only by the name Semper Idem had cut his throat. The doctor miraculously saved him and on releasing him, advised him to next time keep his throat tilted back. The man returns the same day. This time he has done the job so well Doctor Bicknell cannot save him. Bicknell is not upset; indeed, he is rather proud that the man did such a good job.


London is criticizing unfeeling doctors who prize technique over caring. Bicknell is not concerned with life and death, only with his own skill.


First published: 1899

Primary Source

Short Stories of Jack London



Place Published

New York




Earle Labor & Robert C. Leitz & I. Milo Shepard