Memorable medical textbooks of the past

Medical textbooks were not always as dreary and as bland as they are now, according to BMJ. Some examples of lively, first person didactic tone come from J L Burton’s Essentials of Dermatology:

"The Lord Privy Seal is neither a lord, nor a privy, nor a seal" and "‘seborrhoeic’ warts have no relationship to seborrhoea."

"The simultaneous occurrence of scabies in a doctor and a nurse may mean that they have shared nothing more exciting than a patient with Norwegian scabies."


The Lord Privy Seal (or, more formally, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal) is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom. Originally, its holder was responsible for the monarch's personal (privy) seal (as opposed to the Great Seal of the Realm). Though one of the oldest offices in government anywhere, it has no particular function today.

Seborrhoeic keratosis (seborrhoeic wart, basal cell papilloma) is a benign overgrowth of the basal cells of the epidermis. The patient is usually elderly and concerned because the lesion is unsightly.

Image source: Seborrheic keratosis, Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

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