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The Goldsmith Touch

E. P. Scarlett, MB
Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(4):559-560. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860100141021.
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Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), poet, dramatist, novelist, and sometime physician, shone neither in society nor in his attempts at medical practice. In 1749 he graduated BA at Trinity College, Dublin, and a little later studied medicine for two winters in Edinburgh, then wandered about Europe in great destitution for two years. There has been much discussion as to whether he obtained a medical degree, in Louvain or Padua for instance. Certainly in 1763, in a legal document, he signed himself "Oliver Goldsmith, M.B." And in February, 1769, Oxford University gave him an ad eundem degree of MB, because, it was stated, he was already a medical graduate of Dublin.

He just could not get the hang of medical practice. For a time he set himself up as a physician in the Southwark borough of London, and it is during this period that he was found holding his hat in his hand


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