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March 12, 1904

Biographic Clinics. Volume II.

JAMA. 1904;XLII(11):723-724. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490560033023

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In a previous volume Dr. Gould attempted to convince the medical world—but, as he himself admits, with slight success-that the ill health of De Quincey, Carlyle, Darwin, Huxley and Browning was mainly due to defective eyes. In the present volume a similar line of argument is pursued, but we fear the same jury will also render a Scotch verdict in the case of the fourteen personages under discussion. Postmortem diagnosis is the most valuable of all single methods with a complete sectio corporis in evidence, but notoriously misleading, and, may we not add, unscientific when it is based, as in these instances, on quotations from diaries, biographical sketches, incomplete medical reports and occasional letters. It is like diagnosticating and prescribing through the medium of the postoffice or telephone; most of us shrink from it, especially when we have never seen the patient. Naturally, then, we hesitate to agree with Dr.

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