Books: Unbowed Head

WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY — Jerome Hamilton Buckley—Princeton University Press ($2.75).

The doctors of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary were having more than their share of trouble. Young Joseph Lister, disciple of France's Louis Pasteur, was not only filling their ears with chatter about invisible somethings called "germs," he was also filling their stately hospital with the horrid stench of carbolic acid—a so-called "antiseptic," used hitherto for cleansing the Glasgow sewers.

In the fall of 1874, a young man named William Ernest Henley, son of a Gloucester bookseller, appeared before Lister and placed his life in the experimenter's hands. At 25, Henley was dying of tuberculosis....

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