Latest Issue

Tombstone news

Warts 'n' all obituaries

By Patrick West   July 2003

Just as the nature of the biography has changed in recent decades, so has that of the obituary. Yet while most people accept the shift from hagiography to pathography in the book world, there remains the notion that the obituary pages are there to hail the achievements of the recently deceased.

So when the British Medical Journal last month printed a highly critical obituary of physiologist David Horrobin, it was not surprising that it caused all sorts of commotion. Horrobin was a controversial figure. He argued that the gene that gives humans schizophrenia also gave them creativity and language. From…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect