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Books, Journals, New Media
January 3, 2001

QuotationsMedicine in Quotations: Views of Health and Disease Through the Ages

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2001;285(1):94-95. doi:10.1001/jama.285.1.94

In a memorable passage from Aldous Huxley's Point Counterpoint, a character describes a book he just read:

"Dere are some good phrases. I wrote dem down." He searched his pockets, but failed to discover his notebook. "Never mind," he said. "But dey were great phrases. Sometimes one reads a whole book widout finding a single phrase one can remember or quote. What's de good of such a book, I ask you?"

One is chilled by Huxley's disdain for such a mentality. Still, 25 years after reading it in his "novel of ideas," this quotation is fresh in my mind, while most of Huxley's larger ideas have all decayed to various degrees. Nuanced arguments are like thoughtful, well-mannered, and ultimately forgettable houseguests. They pad softly about in consideration of their host's sensibilities, while a well-turned phrase bursts in and paints its message on the walls with audacity, wit, economy, and style. These indelible stains are the real and lasting souvenirs of journeys through other people's imaginings.

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