Chronology: Contextualizing the Work of Richard Selzer

Prologue: How I Came to Know him and Why You Will Want to

1.“A Family of Weepers”: Grandson of Immigrants, 1899-1927

2.Finding Beauty in Unlikely Places: Son of Doctor and Artiste, 1928-1940

3.“Little Dickie Selzer”: High School, Romance, and War, 1941-1945

4.Like Father, Like Son: Becoming a Doctor, 1946-1954

5.“It Haunts Me Still”: Serving in Korea—a Tragic Beauty, 1955-1956

6.Thrown Back into the Mix: Chief Resident and Practice, 1957-1967

7.“Surgeons Love Horror”: Finding his Voice, 1968-1975

8.Accepted by the Mainstream: Book Tours, Reviews, Fans, 1976-1979

9.Immersed in Artists’ Communities: More Time to Dream, 1980-1984

10.Leaving Medicine Behind: New Rounds in a Life, 1985-1990

11.“A Deep Black Hole”: The Doctor as Patient, 1991-1993

12.Exploring New Territories: Playwright and Art Critic, 1994-2000

13.“What’s a Soul”: Finding the Spirit in the Flesh, 2001-2003

14.“Bag of Tricks”: The Writer as Teacher, 2004-2009

15.“The Angelic Imagination”: Last Works, 2010-2016

Postscript: The Need to Feel Valued

Notes (includes abbreviations and sources)

Comprehensive Selzer Bibliography (1968 to 2020)


Comment from author:

In THE SURGEON WHO BECAME A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, I show how Richard Selzer, who died on June 15, 2016, at 87, was a rare gifted soul, unique among doctor-writers. He shared his private moments with patients in eloquent stories and powerful essays that help us see what medicine is all about.

An NEH grant panelist sums up my efforts:

     This will be an important biography of the pivotal figure in literature and medicine produced by a scholar who is primed to tell this story. The narrative account in the proposal is compelling, which gives a sense of what the biography as a whole will feel like. Dr. Stripling is an independent scholar who will produce a strong work of biographical scholarship making a case for the importance of Selzer’s life in thinking through critical issues in our culture.

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