The Psychiatric Novels of Oliver Wendell Holmes: Abridgment, Introduction and Annotations

The Psychiatric Novels of Oliver Wendell Holmes: Abridgment, Introduction and Annotations

The Psychiatric Novels of Oliver Wendell Holmes: Abridgment, Introduction and Annotations

The Psychiatric Novels of Oliver Wendell Holmes: Abridgment, Introduction and Annotations

Excerpt

Oliver Wendell Holmes was one of the favored few who are born into a setting of maximum privilege and opportunity. His parents were connected with the most influential families of that select group in Cambridge and Boston to which he later gave the name of Brahmins. His education was carefully guided into the best channels, from the time he entered elementary school until he graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1831 and finished the coveted post-graduate medical studies in Europe under the famous masters of Paris. Holmes was one of the fortunate few who are capable of making the most of the rare advantages offered to them.

In 1871 Holmes, just turning sixty, had reached a position of distinction attained by few other physicians, American or European. In the academic Cambridge, then regarded as the fountainhead of American literature and learning, he had become an arbiter whose word of praise sometimes decided the destiny of young authors who flocked to this seat of culture. The brisk, small-statured, "Laughing Doctor," as Holmes was called, had become something more than an arbiter -- a liberal, generous, and beloved autocrat.

At this time Holmes was also rounding out a distinguished career as a physician and teacher of medicine. It included some ten years as an active practicing physician in Boston until 1849, the professorship of physiology and anatomy at Harvard from 1847 to 1882, and a long service as dean of the faculty of medicine at this famous university. His lectures had become renowned because of his learning, wit, wisdom, and . . .

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