Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Sort of Romantic Avoidance

Being a medical student is a difficult, exhausting and sometimes disgusting process and being one in the nineteenth century was no better. Hector Berlioz (here showing that the neckbeard is a bad fashion choice no matter what century) was forced into the medical field, one in which he had no interest what-so-ever, by his parents and was thoroughly unprepared for the dissection room.

He writes in his memoirs: "The sight of that horrible human charnel house, these scattered limbs, grinning heads, open skulls, the bloody cesspool in which we walked, the revolting smell which emanated from it, the swarms of sparrows wrangling over scraps of lungs, the rats gnawing bloody vertebrae in their corner--all this filled me with such terror that I leapt through the window of the dissecting-room."

One hopes that the window was open, lest Berlioz be forced to return to the medical school in a still less agreeable position.

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