Cover image for Osler's "a way of life" and other addresses, with commentary and annotations
Osler's "a way of life" and other addresses, with commentary and annotations
Osler, William, Sir, 1849-1919.
Publication Information:
Durham [N.C.] : Duke University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 378 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
R114 .O84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Sir William Osler (1849-1919) had a long and distinguished career as a physician and professor at McGill University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Johns Hopkins University, and finally, as the Regius Chair in Medicine at Oxford University. Over the course of his professional life, Osler gave many addresses--mostly to medical students--on medical ethics, medicine and the humanities, the relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient, and, as the titular essay makes clear, on the "way of life" he advocated for the ethical physician. He remains an inspiration to many contemporary medical practitioners; there are active Osler Societies throughout the world.
While Osler's talks were frequently published during his lifetime and they have been published individually and in different compilations since his death, none contain the over 1500 annotations that appear here, notes that serve to explain the many philosophical, biblical, historical, and literary allusions contained in Osler's writings.
This thoroughly explicated selection of Sir William Osler's writings will be cherished by physicians, medical students, nurses, philosophers, theologians, and ethicists in this--and future--generations.

Author Notes

Canadian physician, writer, and lecturer William Osler was born at Tecumseh, Ontario, the son of a clergyman. After graduating from Trinity College in Toronto, he decided to become a doctor. When he completed his medical work at McGill University in 1872, Osler traveled to Europe and continued his studies there in London, Berlin, and Vienna. On his return to Canada, he was appointed chair in physiology and pathology at McGill. During the 1870s at McGill, he avidly pursued research in pathology on parasites and freshwater polyzoa. From 1884 to 1889, Osler served as head of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He then was invited to Johns Hopkins University as professor of the principles and practices of medicine. After an outstanding tenure at Johns Hopkins, in 1905 he accepted the post of regius professor of medicine at Oxford University.

A popular lecturer and a clear and insightful writer, Osler gained distinction as an outstanding medical historian and scholar. His writings included Science and Immortality (1904) and A Way of Life (1914). His best-known work, however, was his popular textbook Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892), which achieved numerous editions and was translated into several languages. During his lifetime, Osler amassed a large and impressive medical history library of rare books. This library was eventually transported and restored at the McGill Medical School, preserving intact this valuable collection.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Sir William Osler's essays, especially "A Way of Life," have appeared and reappeared for almost a century, so any new edition needs to justify its arrival. In 1983, Hinohara and Niki published a Japanese translation of Osler. They knew that their audience would be unfamiliar with the biblical and Western classical allusions that Osler wove into his writings, so they prepared an extensive annotation--almost 800 items--to accompany the text. Lately, they have realized that passing years and changing educational customs had made Osler almost as unintelligible to US and European readers as he was to Japanese ones, so they translated their notes and appended them to the English texts. The result is impressive; it is like reading Osler in color instead of in black and white, or catching a glimpse of the 90 percent of the iceberg that remains submerged. Oslerians know that Osler had mastered the humanist as well as the medical traditions, but reading his essays in this edition displays to a new generation of physicians and those who care about medicine the depth of that mastery and perhaps entices them to read further in Osler and his sources. General readers; undergraduates through professionals. T. P. Gariepy Stonehill College

Table of Contents

ForewordJohn P. McGovern, M.D.
To the Reader
Chronological Table of Sir William Osler's Life
1 A Way of Life
2 Aequanimitas
3 Sir Thomas Browne
4 The Old Humanities and the New Science
5 Doctor and Nurse
6 Teacher and Student
7 Physic and Physicians as Depicted in Plato
8 The Leaven of Science
9 Teaching and Thinking
10 Nurse and Patient
11 After Twenty-Five Years
12 Books and Men
13 Chauvinism in Medicine
14 The Master-Word in Medicine
15 The Hospital as a College
16 The Fixed Period
17 The Student Life
18 Unity, Peace, and Concord
19 L'envoi
20 Man's Redemption of Man
Bed-Side Library for Medical Students
Reference Sources