Tumours innocent and malign

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 12.17.55Browsing in one of the few second-hand bookshops that remain (after bogus charities such as Save the Children and Oxfam robbed them of their livelihoods), Dalrymple picks up an edition of Sir John Bland-Sutton’s 1893 work. Dalrymple notes

the dramatic nature, or grossness of the pathology, of the cases illustrated

and

the recognisability of the people who suffered.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 12.22.46As artistic artefacts,

the illustrations, though of the ugliest possible phenomena, are beautiful, and of skilful draughtsmanship.

There is in the book

no attempt to conceal the personal identity of the afflicted, and in some cases they are named. Yet the impression given is neither of disrespect nor of prurience, but of sympathy.

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