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Modernism, Medicine, and William Carlos Williams

John L. Coulehan, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1995;274(12):991-992. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530120085052.
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William Carlos Williams graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1906 and, following an internship in New York City and pediatric training in Leipzig, Germany, put up his shingle in 1910 in Rutherford, NJ. When Williams began practice, medicine was rapidly moving from the horseand-buggy era into the modern age. Old theories had been discarded in favor of observation and experiment. Science was beginning to move from the laboratory into the doctor's office. Likewise, dramatic changes were also occurring in literature. The movement known as "modernism" was in its infancy. Its great practitioners—Joyce, Pound, Eliot, and Williams himself—were on the threshold of flexing their early voices.

In Modernism, Medicine, and William Carlos Williams, T. Hugh Crawford has written a fascinating book on the relationship of science, medicine, and medical education to the rise of modernism in literature. Crawford uses Williams' work as a focal point or linchpin connecting


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