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July 1963

The Head of Medusa: Contemporary Literature's Obsession With the Pathological: Part II

Author Affiliations

Calgary Associate Clinic Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(1):129-134. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860010155017

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I have been discussing, with something less than urbanity, some of the features of contemporary fiction, drama, and criticism, and particularly their myopic obsession with the pathological, a territory with which the physician has a special acquaintance. I have suggested that:

Such a misanthropic vision cannot be regarded as a fair reflection of the modern temper, unless it be the weakness of our general intellectual life.

This state of mind represents a failure to confront the problem of naked evil in the world and nothing less than a loss of nerve when face to face with the spectacle of the mass of human suffering in our time.

It presents a grossly distorted view of life.

In their insistence on the absence of meaning in life and on the degradation of the human condition, these writers have lost contact with reality and present what is in effect a caricature of life.

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