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June 1963

The Old Age of William Harvey: (1578-1657)

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(6):829-834. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620300149024

In the 300 years that have passed since his death in his 80th year, countless numbers of scholars in medicine, surgery, and history have studied, lectured, and written about the life, character, and works of William Harvey. To attempt at this time to add even a footnote to this literature may seem presumptuous, were it not for the hope that fresh viewpoints may perhaps bring new insights. Increasing understanding of the mental and physical problems of the aging lends new emphasis to the facts we have on Harvey's later years, enhances particularly the value of his own comments about himself, and heightens our appreciation of him as a human being.

Rereading Harvey's works in Sir Kenneth Franklin's revealing new translations brings fresh realization of the range and the modernity of the great physician's thinking.1,2 Recently I had the opportunity3 to stress a phase of his accomplishment that on