Table talk

Please forgive our recent absence, as technical problems with the site have prevented us from posting lately. We’ll do some catching up now.

In the British Medical Journal (subscription required), Dalrymple describes the neurologist Walter Russell Brain’s book Tea with Walter de la Mare, a collection of his conversations with the poet. Noting Brain’s refusal to question de la Mare’s dying statement that he sensed ghostly presences, Dalrymple ends with, “Sometimes there are things more important than philosophical truth.” Such as indulging a dying friend.

I find this a good example of Dalrymple’s pragmatic, anti-ideological approach. It calls to mind his comment here that he refused to criticize the contradictory methodology of Alcoholics Anonymous (calling addiction a disease, but suggesting that it can be cured by “a kind of inspiration”) because “…it’s more important in my view that [alcoholics] should not drink than that they should be intellectually 100% consistent.”

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