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March 15, 1995

The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine

JAMA. 1995;273(11):894. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520350076038

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This is a very weird book and one that I did not much enjoy. When I began my review, I dutifully did read each word.

However, as I worked my way through the book, I gradually began to skim, skipping from page to page ever more quickly. By the time the end came, I was relieved to be through.

This volume had potential. As one of the blurbs puts it, "[The book] is meant to be a scrap-book of observations collected over the years on a subject that impassions [the author]: the body." It is a collection of such meanderings, and some of the items collected by Ceronetti, an Italian literary critic, are true gems. For example, as an alternative to a gross Anglo-Saxonism, which all North American schoolchildren are familiar with, he offers us an elegant Latin phrase: "Quod turget, urget (what swells, impels)." Or in a rambling, otherwise

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