Scientist or humanist: Two views of the military surgeon in literature

  • Edward E. Waldron


Surgeons have often been portrayed in literature on one of two extremes: the cold, distant scientist or the benign, caring humanist. Two characters in American literature who illustrate those extremes, both surgeons in the military, are Herman Melville's Cadwallader Cuticle and Richard Hooker's Hawkeye Pierce. Cuticle is interested only in the science of his craft, while Pierce maintains the compassion so central to the art of healing, even in the midst of war.


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Reference notes

  1. 1.
    Kramer M., Benign violence,The Atlantic Monthly, May 1983, p. 62.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cartwright, F. F.,The Development of Modern Surgery New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968, p. 106.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thacher, J. M.D., Excerpts from a military journal during the Revolutionary War, inSurgery in America: Selected Writings. A. Scott Earle, M.D. (Ed.) Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1965, p. 27.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hooker, R.,M*A*S*H. New York: Pocket Books, 1969, Foreword.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Melville, H.,White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press and the Newberry Library, 1970, p. 257.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward E. Waldron
    • 1
  1. 1.Ethics and Humanities, School of MedicineUniversity of North DakotaGrand Forks

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