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History of Medicine |

Lessons in Medical Humanism: The Case of Montaigne

Alan G. Wasserstein, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Alan G. Wasserstein, MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 9038 Gates West, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail, alan.wasserstein@uphs.upenn.edu.

Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(11):809-813. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-146-11-200706050-00009
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Michel de Montaigne, the great French humanist and inventor of the personal essay, suffered from frequent and severe renal colic. He wrote about his illness in his travel journal and in his last and greatest essay, “Of Experience.” In his illness narratives, Montaigne integrated disease and suffering into his life and art. He humanized rather than conquered his disease. A mature humanism replaced his youthful Stoic philosophy of detachment and disengagement and provides a worthy model for our own medical humanism.





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