Irritating fictional doctors: Dr Gregory in F Scott Fitzgerald’s “Gretchen’s Forty Winks” and the balanced life

For no apparent reason I decided to reblog this from my somewhat moribund (is that a tautology, like “almost unique”?) medically-focused blog. Enjoy!

A Medical Education

A while back I posted about the less-than-busy doctors of Victorian detective fiction. Another medical archetype of fiction is the irritatingly bluff doctor. While Dr Gregory in F Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Gretchen’s Forty Winks” is a minor character, he encapsulates a certain cheery complacency.

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This story is not among Fitzgerald’s best. An awful lot of Fitzgerald’s writing was for money, in the midst of a chaotic life. There’s nothing wrong with this – remember Dr Johnson’s dictum that no man but a blockhead writes except for money. However, “Gretchen’s Forty Winks” is no Great Gatsby. There is also much that would now be deemed sexist, not to mention casual gaslighting and slipping of Mickey Finns within the marital relationship . Of course, no doubt there is much we find unexceptional or even virtuous in our own culture which will in nearly a century seem laughably unethical.and…

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