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September 4, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXIX(10):496. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440360040010

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The Lancet quotes Dr. Osler as having said of the late Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, that he was the best example that has yet been afforded by history of the successful combination of the physician and the man of letters. The combination is rare for many reasons, some of which lie on the surface while others are more remote. The career of a medical practitioner is an arduous one, and except in a few favored cases leaves little leisure for the successful prosecution of literary pursuits. On the other hand, for the attainment of any high degree of literary excellence ample time for reading, study, thought, and in a general way for self-culture is usually indispensable. Again, the physician is immersed in studies and duties which do not lend themselves very readily to literary expression, and he is prevented by professional etiquette and by good taste from making free use

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