Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Underground Chapter Two Posted!

At last! The second chapter of Underground, “A Gentleman’s Education,” is finished and posted on the website.  You can read this chapter and others at www.cmgbooks.com/5.html.  I look forward to reading your comments. :)


Thanks to the staff of the Bracken Health Sciences Library, for helping me find the information I needed for this chapter; to Zoe, who pointed me in the right direction; and to the folks of effective editing, for helping to iron out the grammatical issues in the chapter.

Some notes on the chapter:

Firstly, The inept Professor Robert Bell was indeed a professor at Queen’s during the 1864 school year.  Over-paid and under-qualified, he was severely disliked by his students.  There are reports of students prying chunks of wood off their desks to throw at him, pummelling him with crumpled paper, and even bringing snowballs to class to throw at him while his back was turned.  Michael Sullivan was also a professor, as well as a graduate of the medical program.  He seems to have been better-liked than Bell.  Although these people actually existed, I have used them fictitiously in this chapter.

Secondly,  late in the 1850s, Queen’s University had a building constructed to house the rapidly expanding faculty of medicine, which had formerly been lodged in the east wing of Summerhill.  As A.A. Travaill states in his book, Queen’s University Faculty of Medicine, 1854-1920, the original plans were lost, and the building has undergone so many alterations over the years that it is now impossible to recognize the original interior.  Even Travaill was unsure where the dissection theatre was located.  For the purposes of Underground, I have decided to merge the old medical facilities of Summerhill, with the new, hence the basement room with limestone slab tables. 

Finally, this chapter is meant to occur the day after the first.  You may notice that the dates at the top of the first page of chapter one and two are a month apart.  This is my mistake.  In researching nineteenth century medical education, I found out that classes ran from October through May, rather than from September through April.


For those who are interested in learning more about the history of medical education or the history of the faculty of medicine of Queen’s University, I recommend the following:

Bonner, Thomas Neville. Becoming a Physician. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Neatby, Hilda. Queen's University Volume I. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1974.

Queen’s University. Faculty of Medicine, 1854-1979 : One Hundred and Twenty Five Years Dedicated to Education and Service. Kingston: Queen’s University Press, 1979.

Travaill, A.A. Medicine at Queen’s 1854-1920: A Peculiarly Happy Relationship. Kingston: The Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, 1988.

You might also visit the website of the museum of health care at Queen’s University, at http://www.museumofhealthcare.ca/

And now you understand why, with law on top of this, it took so long to get this chapter finished!  I hope you enjoy it, and look forward to reading your comments here.

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