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[Perspectives] A J Cronin’s Citadel

When it was published in July, 1937, A J Cronin’s novel The Citadel attracted heated criticism from other doctors disputing the existence of the unscrupulous medicine it portrayed. Malpractice happened, but should be dealt with behind closed doors. That a doctor should expose other doctors in a novel was considered unprecedented, dynamite: professional treachery. Others admitted that Cronin’s novel described real aspects of the medical world: “the garment of our knowledge”, said one doctor in The Lancet, “is as patched as is our virtue”.

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