Around the Red Lamp: Medical Life As It Used to Be

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Fireship Press, 2007 - Fiction - 128 pages
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Tales of Victorian Medicine as told by one of the great story tellers of all time... Arthur Conan Doyle. M.D. Everyone knows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His Sherlock Holmes mysteries have become classics in western literature. But not everyone knows that Conan Doyle was also a physician-an ophthalmologist to be precise. In fact, it was his unfortunate lack of patients that gave Doyle the time he needed to write, and resulted in the creation of Sherlock Holmes. But Doyle's output was not limited to mystery writing. His historical novels and short stories were very popular throughout his lifetime. It was only natural therefore that, sooner or later, he would turn his attention to writing about medicine. He did this in 1894 with the publication of Round the Red Lamp. These are stories of medicine as it used to be. It was a time before production-line office visits, before computerized CAT scans-for that matter, it was even before X-rays had been invented. It was an era when physicians routinely made house calls; and the "family doc" not only knew your medical history, but that of your parents and your grandparents as well. He knew it because he had personally treated all three generations. Around the Red Lamp is a priceless insight into those times. Doctors treat the sick, but where does a Victorian doctor turn when he is the one who is ill? No physician enjoys seeing a patient die; but leave it to an old soldier to show a young doctor how to die with courage and honor. What's a small town doctor to do when he suddenly finds himself facing competition-especially when the competition is coming from the loveliest female physician he has ever seen? All these stories and more in Around the Red Lamp
 

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About the author (2007)

The most famous fictional detective in the world is Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. However, Doyle was, at best, ambivalent about his immensely successful literary creation and, at worst, resentful that his more "serious" fiction was relatively ignored. Born in Edinburgh, Doyle studied medicine from 1876 to 1881 and received his M.D. in 1885. He worked as a military physician in South Africa during the Boer War and was knighted in 1902 for his exceptional service. Doyle was drawn to writing at an early age. Although he attempted to enter private practice in Southsea, Portsmouth, in 1882, he soon turned to writing in his spare time; it eventually became his profession. As a Liberal Unionist, Doyle ran, unsuccessfully, for Parliament in 1903. During his later years, Doyle became an avowed spiritualist. Doyle sold his first story, "The Mystery of the Sasassa Valley," to Chambers' Journal in 1879. When Doyle published the novel, A Study in Scarlet in 1887, Sherlock Holmes was introduced to an avid public. Doyle is reputed to have used one of his medical professors, Dr. Joseph Bell, as a model for Holmes's character. Eventually, Doyle wrote three additional Holmes novels and five collections of Holmes short stories. A brilliant, though somewhat eccentric, detective, Holmes employs scientific methods of observation and deduction to solve the mysteries that he investigates. Although an "amateur" private detective, he is frequently called upon by Scotland Yard for assistance. Holmes's assistant, the faithful Dr. Watson, provides a striking contrast to Holmes's brilliant intellect and, in Doyle's day at least, serves as a character with whom the reader can readily identify. Having tired of Holmes's popularity, Doyle even tried to kill the great detective in "The Final Problem" but was forced by an outraged public to resurrect him in 1903. Although Holmes remained Doyle's most popular literary creation, Doyle wrote prolifically in other genres, including historical adventure, science fiction, and supernatural fiction. Despite Doyle's sometimes careless writing, he was a superb storyteller. His great skill as a popular author lay in his technique of involving readers in his highly entertaining adventures.

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