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Download Catharsis: On the Art of Medicine epub

by Antonia Lloyd-Jones,Czeslaw Milosz,Andrzej Szczeklik

The ancient Greeks used the term catharsis for the cleansing of both the body by medicine and the soul by art. In this inspiring book, internationally renowned cardiologist Andrzej Szczeklik draws deeply on our humanistic heritage to describe the artistry and the mystery of being a doctor. Moving between examples ancient and contemporary, mythological and scientific, Catharsis explores how medicine and art share common roots and pose common challenges. The process of diagnosis, for instance, belongs to a world of magic and metaphor; the physician must embrace it like a poem or painting, with particular alertness and keen receptivity. Speculation on ways to slow aging through genetics, meanwhile, draws directly on the dream of immortality that artists and poets have nourished through the ages. And the concept of catharsis itself has made its way from the writings of Aristotle to today's growing interest in the benefits of music to health, especially in newborns. As Szczeklik explores such subjects as the mysteries of the heart rhythm, the secret history of pain relief, the enigmatic logic of epidemics, near-death or out-of-body experiences, and many more, he skillfully weaves together classical literature, the history of medicine, and moving anecdotes from his own clinical experiences. The result is a life-affirming book that will enrich the healing work of patients and doctors alike and make an invaluable contribution to our still-expanding vision of the art of medicine.
Download Catharsis: On the Art of Medicine epub
ISBN: 0226788695
ISBN13: 978-0226788692
Category: Other
Subcategory: Medicine & Health Sciences
Author: Antonia Lloyd-Jones,Czeslaw Milosz,Andrzej Szczeklik
Language: English
Publisher: University of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (December 1, 2005)
Pages: 172 pages
ePUB size: 1699 kb
FB2 size: 1971 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 752
Other Formats: azw mbr doc docx

Andrzej Szczeklik (July 29, 1938 – February 3, 2012) was a Polish physician, professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine, Jagiellonian University School of Medicine (Collegium Medicum) in Kraków.

As Physician, Teacher, Healer, Professor, and Dean, he helped transform medicine education in central Europe. He kept the Jagiellonian University Medical School functioning through the period of martial law and helped it emerge as an internationally recognized center of medical excellence.

Prof. Szczeklik was my teacher and mentor 1979-1982 in Poland during the clinical years of my medical studies. He has been a role model for my medical practice over the last 30 years.

We are sorry for his passing, but glad for the legacy he left behind.
Wooden Purple Romeo
A review by Irene Smereck

I found Catharsis: On the Art of Medicine to be a very interesting, informative, and readable book on a subject, medicine, which is sometimes difficult for the ordinary reader. It offers many nuances not often covered in medical or general information. I am purchasing this book for my daughter, an E. R. physician. From conversations with her, I have seen that diagnosis is a very intuitive, almost magical art. Andrzej Szczeklik's book adds the weight of historical evidence to her personal anecdotes, helping me to see her, and all physicians, in a new light.
n the forward to this book by the late, great poet Czeslaw Milosz, he writes "There is a mysterious connection between the human organism and some spiritual energies, thanks to which science alone cannot answer many of our questions about ourselves. So perhaps [Dr. Szczeklik]is right to use the word katharsis, or purification, and go back to ancient Greek drama . . . This way of referring back to the ancient world makes us think of the age-old continuity of the medical profession, which quite possibly derives its high standing from its permanent place on the border between life and death."

As one might expect of a poet, that pretty much says it all.

One of America's most prominent doctors strongly recommended this book to me; the doctor's wife is a well-known humanities scholar, so when he told me that this book is a deeply cultured reflection on the mysteries that a doctor confronts in his career I was eager to read the book.

I've read it twice now, and I must say that the first time I was a little disappointed. Yes, it is an elegant, interesting, gracefully written meditation on the mysteries of life and death, the blankness of suffering and extinction and the human desire to envelop those experiences with meaning and morality. But it is not some kind of intellectually persuasive argument that takes one through a chain of unbroken logic.

Thinking about the book and my reaction, I realised that the answer probably lies with Polanyi's concept of "tacit knowledge". Polanyi demonstrates that most of what we know we would struggle to communicate intellectually, from something as simple as a tennis swing to our judgments about the most difficult and stressful situations.

The real value of this book, I have realised, is that Dr. Szezeklik, after a lifetime of healing and failing to heal, of saving lives and witnessing death, still believes in the spiritual and intellectual and emotional connections with illness and death, and he sincerely believes in the transcendent meaning of what we experience in life.

This must have been what impressed the American doctor who told me about the book. CATHARSIS is not some kind of logical juggernaut--it is an elegant and cultured report back from the mysterious ground between life and death.
I read this book in its Spanish translation, which was saluted by noted Spanish intellectuals such as Félix de Azúa, Rafael Argullol, and Juan Malpartida. After reading the book, I find myself wondering what was it exactly that they found so stimulating. This book consistently fails to deliver a sustained reflection on catharsis, healing or the relationship between the mind and the body. Every time it starts to get promising, it launches into an anecdote of the author's experiences as a physician, or a praise of John Paul II. The ideas that I found most compelling are those regarding Catharsis, Necessity, and Narcissus, for instance. They happen, however, to be quotations, almost always, from Roberto Calasso's magnificent essay on Greek myths, "Le nozze di Cadmo e Armonia." At least Szczeklik's book led me to that treasure. It didn't do much else.
I must agree with a recent TLS review.which wonders why the U of Chicago ever published this book. IT IS NOT WORTH PURCHASING.