Saturday, August 15, 2009

Liiterature, Arts, and Medicine Database

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Look up Edgar Allen Poe's "The Telltale Heart" on the Literature, Arts and Medicine Database, and here is a part of what you get--

"The Tell-Tale Heart is a classic example of the psychological story. The frenetic diction of the narrator and his repeated pleas to the reader ('How, then, am I mad?' (74) and 'but why will you say that I am mad?' (74) only reinforce the suspicion that he is mentally ill. Beyond his manic monologue, there is the narrator’s creepy fascination with the old man’s eye as further proof of lunacy. What is it about that eye--'a pale blue eye, with a film over it' [p74]--that so vexes the narrator?
Clinically, the description suggests a common cataract--hardly a reason to murder the old man." *

Started in 1994 by the New York University School of Medicine, the database, which is a medical index to literature, is one of the most interesting websites I've found lately.

It is not heavy on mystery writers, though I did find Poe and Conan Doyle.

I was surprised not to find Chandler or Hammett, both of whom I would have thought would be prime candidates for medical annotation.

Still, I found the site fascinating.

P.S. For the truly technically inclined, the site includes a blog. One noteworthy entry describes the Yale Internal Medicine Residency Writers' Workshop.

*My emphasis. This entry was annotated by Tony Miksanek.


Corey Wilde said...

Wow, what a find! I never heard of such a database. And timely. I plan on reading some stories this month that are part of a tribute to Poe.

Joe Barone said...

I would like to take credit, but the fact is, I just stumbled on to it.