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[Editorial] Shakespeare: the bard at the bedside

In his preface to the inaugural issue of The Lancet, editor Thomas Wakley promised not only to report medical intelligence, but also literature. Accordingly, that first issue included a review of Much Ado about Nothing. Writing in 1823 to a medical audience, there was no need to mention the playwright’s name: William Shakespeare, the 400th anniversary of whose death is marked today. Since then, Shakespeare has appeared in 1200 Lancet publications, including the theatre review of Hamlet by Niall Boyce in today’s issue.