Last month we launched our online book club, with the proposal of reading and discussing Semmelweis by L.-F. Céline. Now it’s time to start the discussion! It will be conducted in a mix of Italian and English language in the comment section of this post.
A similar live discussion will be conducted at the next Festivaletteratura in Mantova, September 2019. The material collected here will be precious. If in the long summer days you don’t know what to make of the lazy afternoon hours, consider helping us editing the discussion into a printable document for later reference…
«I was aware of many facts for which I had no explanation. Delivery with prolonged dilation almost inevitably led to death. Patients who delivered prematurely or on the street almost never became ill, and this contradicted my conviction that the deaths were due to endemic causes. The disease appeared sequentially among patients in the first clinic. Patients in the second clinic were healthier, although individuals working there were no more skillful or conscientious in their duties. The disrespect displayed by the employees toward the personnel of the first clinic made me so miserable that life seemed worthless. Everything was in question; everything seemed inexplicable; everything was doubtful. Only the large number of deaths was an unquestionable reality.»
Ignaz Semmelweis, The Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis Of Childbed Fever 1
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«One of the most neglected works of Louis-Ferdinand Celine is his first published one […] Semmelweis is by no means what one would expect today from a medical thesis. First of all, it is a purely biographical work that does not address Semmelweis’s theories from a medical or scientific standpoint.»
Ifri, Pascal A., A Reconsideration of Celine’s Semmelweis, from Questia
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So, without further ado: look for it in your own bookshelf. Compulse your best friends’ bookshelf. Ask them to ask their best friends if they own it. If that doesn’t work, borrow it at the nearest public library. If they lended it out already, stroll to your favourite bookshop and ask the librarian.… Read the rest