1st Edition

Contemporary Physician-Authors Exploring the Insights of Doctors Who Write

Edited By Nathan Carlin Copyright 2021
    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the phenomenon of physician-authors. Focusing on the books that contemporary doctors write--the stories that they tell--with contributors critically engaging their work.

    A selection of original chapters from leading scholars in medical and health humanities analyze the literary output of doctors, including Oliver Sacks, Danielle Ofri, Atul Gawande, Louise Aronson, Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Abraham Verghese. Discussing issues of moral meaning in the works of contemporary doctor-writers, from memoir to poetry, this collection reflects some of the diversity of medicine today.

    A key reference for all students and scholars of medical and health humanities, the book will be especially useful for those interested in the relationship between literature and practising medicine.


    Nathan Carlin

    Part One: Two Traditional Representatives

    Chapter 1- Richard Selzer: Three Troubling Tales of Physicians’ Peculiar Behavior

    Tony Miksanek

    Chapter 2- Oliver Sacks: A Kind of Reminiscence

    Tom Koch

    Part Two: Three Contemporary Favorites

    Chapter 3- Perri Klass: Books Are Like Stethoscopes

    Seema Yasmin

    Chapter 4- Abraham Verghese: The Power of Storytelling

    Kaarkuzhali Babu Krishnamurthy

    Chapter 5- Atul Gawande: Doctoring, Dying, and the Pursuit of "Better"

    Thomas D. Harter

    Part Three: Medicine, Meaning, and Identity

    Chapter 6- Danielle Ofri: Offering Lessons for All

    Susan Stagno

    Chapter 7- Paul Kalanithi: Sometimes, They Break—Craft as a Window

    Lise Saffran

    Chapter 8- Joanna Cannon: Leaving Medicine to Pursue a Physician’s Calling

    Abraham M. Nussbaum

    Chapter 9- Damon Tweedy: Stories on Being Black, Sick, and Marginalized

    Keisha Ray

    Chapter 10- Fady Joudah: An Exploration of Borders and Boundaries

    Andrew Childress

    Chapter 11- Louise Aronson: Using Facts and Stories to Improve Medical Care for Older Adults

    Craig M. Klugman

    Chapter 12- Marc Agronin: Into the Heart of Growing Old

    Jill Yamasaki

    Part Four: Alternative Models

    Chapter 13- David Watts and Frank Huyler: A Tale of Two Patients

    David Elkin

    Chapter 14- Siddhartha Mukherjee: Tending and Extending—The Long and Short of Siddhartha Mukherjee

    Sandhya Shetty

    Chapter 15- Arthur Kleinman: Professional Caregiving Narratives Become Personal

    Carol Levine


    Nathan Carlin is Professor in the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA, where he holds the Samuel Karff Chair.


    "Contemporary Physicians-Authors demonstrates that most of today's writers speak in a self-aware, reflective voice that keeps them close to the ground, while they also retain the flexibility to take a more bird's-eye view to comment, report, and advocate. The book's primary audience is academic (e.g., students and professors of medical humanities), but anyone who has read a few or more of these authors is likely to find something of interest and perhaps discover a brand-new author to investi­gate."
    -Jack Coulehan, Journal of Medical Humanities