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February 22, 1964

Charles Dickens on "Town and Gown"

JAMA. 1964;187(8):621. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060210071027

To the Editor:—  For this Journal reader seeking respite from a current tide of medical literature, perusing a copy of Household Words, a weekly journal conducted by Charles Dickens, proved to be an adventure of contemporary interest. With the hope of eliminating profession-linked problems of academic and practicing medicine, W. C. Wescoe in a Journal Special Communication, "The Town-Gown Syndrome: Pathology" (186:785 [Nov 23] 1963), examined the "symptomcomplex" of the titled syndrome, outlining etiological factors, course, prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment. Dickens, in an 1852 contribution to Household Words titled "Town and Gown,"1 with the same intent approached the controversies of university students and citizens of another century, the fictitious gowned members of the University of Bulferry and the tradesmen of the town of Bulferry.In keeping with the Journal comparison of conflict of "town and gown" to a clinical syndrome, the English novelist also draws such an analogy,

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