Making a Difference: Mixing Medicine and Literature-Robert Coles

By Webber, Rebecca | Humanities, May/June 2002 | Go to article overview

Making a Difference: Mixing Medicine and Literature-Robert Coles


Webber, Rebecca, Humanities


Poet William Carlos Williams had a profound effect on the career of Robert Coles. "His vision about the role of the writer as someone who seeks to understand the world and to become involved in the world in his or her thinking or living, informed my notion of what the humanities are," says Coles. The two met and became lifelong friends when Coles was studying literature at Harvard. Williams, who was a doctor as well as a poet, was the subject of Coles's thesis. Williams inspired Coles to pursue a medical degree and to practice medicine among poor and vulnerable populations.

Coles has worked as a medical doctor, a child psychiatrist, a Harvard professor, and a magazine editor. Within each of these pursuits, he has used literature to think, learn, and teach about how humans should live.

He has won two Pulitzers, a MacArthur Fellowship, and in 2000, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Coles began in pediatrics, but eventually turned to child psychiatry. "I became interested not only in children's bodily difficulties but in their response to them," he says. He shares his exploration of children's lives and sensibilities in many widely acclaimed books, including the five-volume Pulitzer Prize-winning Children of Crisis series.

Coles has written numerous articles, reviews and essays, and more than fifty books. He has contributed to magazines such as the New Yorker, the New Republic and the Atlantic Monthly, which published his first piece in 1960, entitled "A Young Psychiatrist Looks at His Profession."

Coles spent two years as a military doctor, running a hospital at an air force base in Biloxi, Mississippi. His work in the South exposed him to children and families caught in the struggle for desegregation. He wrote about his subjects, "for someone like myself," he says, "trying to understand the world through books. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Making a Difference: Mixing Medicine and Literature-Robert Coles
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.