A Matter of Doubt - The Novel of Claude Bernard

A Matter of Doubt - The Novel of Claude Bernard

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A MATTER OF DOUBT (P Wise) Description and Back Cover text An extraordinary man: unlucky in love, inventive, inquisitive and gifted with words. This is the remarkable story of Claude Bernard, 19th century France's most illustrious medical scientist - told in the form of a novel. A boy from the Beaujolais, he had dreamed only of becoming a writer. Reluctantly he becomes a pharmacy apprentice in Lyon, but irritates everyone by endlessly questioning the science of his practice - inspired by the philosopher Descartes and his concept of scientific doubt. A careless accident - plus his boss's discovery of two plays written in secret - brings his career to an abrupt halt. One play is however performed in Lyon, and optimistic Claude travels to Paris, where the eminent drama critic Girardin decisively condemns his writing. Better study medicine - he says - research and scientific writing should suit you better! In medical school, Claude again questions everyone; accepts nothing. His poor examination results prevent him from getting a research post. Behind the scenes a marriage is 'arranged': the rich dowry can finance his research projects, many of which turn out to involve vivisection. His wife Fanny bitterly disapproves, and promptly becomes active in the mounting anti-vivisectionist movement. Bernard becomes unpopular with colleagues too, since his revolutionary discoveries challenge their traditional teachings. On both fronts his life becomes unbearable, and he develops a recurrent undiagnosable illness. The persistent Bernard continues to attack traditional theory and makes many important discoveries: the mechanism of diabetes, the action of poisons, the functions of the nervous system - and so much more. Above all, he evolves an experimental philosophy that will influence countless generations of scientists. Awards and honours follow. Regular escape back to the peaceful Beaujolais allows him to recover from illness, to supervise the vineyard that he had inherited and to explore similarities of plant and animal life. He also writes a book that rapidly becomes a best-seller - and will remain a classic: his dream of being a successful writer finally realised. He separates from Fanny, and buries himself even deeper in science amid the trauma of the Franco-Prussian war. A fascinating relationship with Louis Pasteur - also a vigneron - ends with a hotly-debated theory of alcoholic fermentation. Finally, he enjoys ten years of bliss! The exotic and talented Marie nurtures his soul, helps with his writing and offers him her home - and her heart.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 394 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 28mm | 621.42g
  • Createspace
  • North Charleston SC, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1466339896
  • 9781466339897