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

Book Pages: 408 Illustrations: 2 illustrations Published: July 2001

Medicine and Health > Medical Humanities

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.


“[E]xciting . . . [A] wonderful reference work for skilled and unskilled Oslerians.” — Pamela Miller , Osler Library Newsletter

“[I]mpressive; 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.” — T. P. Gariepy, Choice

“The annotations in this book help to open the door to the intellectual world Osler inhabited—to enter it fully is another, more challenging, step.” — Lara Hazelton , Journal of the Canadian Medical Association

"[A] most welcome addition. . . . [U]nique. . . . [Hinohara and Niki] have shown that these addresses are indeed as contemporary today as they were about a century ago." — Ronald C. Hamdy , Southern Medical Journal

"A brief preface accompanies each of the well-chosen addresses, but what sets this book apart is the incredible footnotes—all 1,565 of them. . . . I marvel at these authors’ persistence and ultimate accomplishment. . . . The subtlety and sensitivity of the footnotes lend insight into Osler’s mindset and how he utilized the range and depth of his reading. . . . [A]nyone concerned with the history of medicine since 1900 cannot afford to ignore Osler. Hinohara and Niki make his essays accessible and fun. . . . For all who maintain that the humanities inform humanism and that humanism is still essential to medicine, this volume is a must-have."
— Charles S. Bryan , Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"Oslerians will rejoice at having a rich trove for future symposia. . . . [M]edical historians owe Dr. Hinohara and Professor Niki gratitude for their definitive contribution to Osleriana." — Gerald Tremblay, JAMA

"What Hinohara and Niki have done that is unique in the Osler canon is provide a thorough editing of all Osler’s references in these selected addresses and essays, which amounts to well over 800 annotations. . . . The range of the essays here is striking. . . . Overall, this volume serves as the reference point it is meant to be: to answer the questions about Osler’s meaning in the context of his writing and for audiences he meant to serve. Other collections of his essays are important, but, for those who wish to appreciate the fullness of Osler’s thoughts and save themselves the hard research, this volume is indispensable, too."

— James Shedlock , Journal of the Medical Library Association

“This book enables our society and those to come to benefit from the wisdom of one of the greatest physicians of all time, Sir William Osler. For over a century Osler has been recognized as a force for the humanities and ethics in medicine and for patient-centered medicine, areas severely challenged today by the so-called managed care movement, health insurance, and governmental influences. It is a message not only for the medical profession but for all who would seek compassionate physicians who had been influenced and stimulated by Osler’s timeless wisdom and humanity. I will cherish this book in my library and heart.” — Billy F. Andrews, M.D., Professor and Chairman Emeritus, University of Louisville; Chief-of-Staff Emeritus, Kosair Children’s Hospital, University of Louisville

“This is an outstanding work of painstaking scholarship, which makes this truly great human’s best thinking readily accessible to modern students, professionals, scholars, and readers interested in medicine and the health professions generally. The volume presents a cornucopia of both personal and professional wisdom in addition to demonstrating Osler’s extraordinary erudition.” — Roger J. Bulger, M.D., President, Association of Academic Health Centers


Availability: Not in Stock
Price: $44.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sir William Osler (1849–1919) was Regius Chair in Medicine, Oxford University, 1905–1919, and Professor of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief at The Johns Hopkins Medical School, 1888–1905. He was the author of numerous works on medicine and medical ethics.

Shigeaki Hinohara, M.D., is Honorary President of St. Luke’s International Hospital and Japan Society for Medical Education.

Hisae Niki, M.A. is Professor of English at Meikai University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / John 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
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2682-3
Publicity material