The Doctor with Two Heads: Essays on Art and Science

Gerald Weissman, Author
Gerald Weissman, Author Knopf Publishing Group $19.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-394-57833-0
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
In the best of these self-consciously erudite essays, Weissmann ( The Woods Hole Cantata ) visits Daumier's old studio overlooking the Seine. The river, once a public bath and sewer, leads the author to consider epidemics in relation to French political unrest, then catapults him to the discovery of Lyme disease. His associative method is less successful in other pieces, for example, when he compares American modernist painting to U.S. biomedical science, or argues that Gertrude Stein (at age 23, a student at Woods Hole biology lab) modeled her literary experiments on the work of mechanistic biologist Jacques Loeb. A physician and professor at NYU Medical Center, Weissmann leaps from dung beetles to Swift's Gulliver Travels , from military metaphors for tissue inflammation to Casablanca , in 14 circuitous essays that encompass the Titanic , Wordsworth, anti-fascist resistance under Mussolini and Vichy France. Illustrated. (Apr.)
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