A novel approach to the history of medicine: a look at the relationship between fiction and medical history

This paper examines the recent upsurge in novels concerned with the history of medicine. It selects a range of different novels and asks how they relate to the work of the professional medical historian. Do these novels stimulate interest in the history of medicine or do they distort historical events? It is concluded that although writers often take liberties with the historical record, on balance, their work helps us to engage with the past and is likely to inspire readers to find out more about the history of medicine.