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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…

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