The last 10 years we have published on an regular basis about literature and medicine.

1. Research
In 2006, the thesis ‘Distant lovers, about the relationship between literature and medicine’ by Sofie Vandamme was published. In 2009, two smaller projects were completed by Laura Prins and Wouter Schrover as a scientific internship about, respectively, hysteria in Dutch naturalistic novels and the doctor-author Richard Selzer.



2. Symposium books

Since 2002, eleven books (in Dutch) have been published in connection with the VUmc public lecture on literature and medicine. The first book, ‘Symptoms of illnesses’, has been published by Lemma. The second book, ‘The language of feeling’, was published by Atlas. Since 2004, the books have been edited by Arko Oderwald, Koos Neuvel and Willem van Tilburg, and published by De Tijdstroom in Utrecht. Between 2004 and 2007, Cees Hertogh was co-editor.

2002 (Lemma)

2003 (Atlas)

Click here for the folder
Books published

2002 Ziektebeelden

2003 De taal van het gevoel

2004 Pijn

2005 Dokter worden

2006 De garderobe van de dokter

2007 Schrijven tegen de tijd

2008 Aan de ketting

2009 Opname

2010 Besmetting

2011 Ontspoorde cellen

2012 Nieuw leven


3. Other publications

  • In 2009, initiated by Arko Oderwald, De Tijdstroom also published the Dutch translation of ‘The House of God’, together with a booklet about thirty years of ‘The House of God’, called ‘Maison Dieu’.
  • In 2011, a lexicon was published, based on quotations from autobiographical stories by cancerpatients. In it, headwords will be defined which appear to be important in the perception of the patient or of the people close to him or her.


  • In English, De Tijdstroom published in 2011 Unfamiliar knowledge. Psychiatric disorders in literature, edited by Arko Oderwald, Willem van Tilburg en Koos Neuvel.



4. Writer on the ward

Authors are good at observing medical practice and the culture in which that practice takes place. VU Medical Center opened therefore the doors for three writers. They were allowed to participate on three different wards and asked to write a novel about their experiences.

The first writer who participated on a ward was Bert Keizer, author of ‘Dancing with Mr. D.’. He visited the Department of Neurosurgery and has reported about it in his book ‘Onverklaarbaar bewoond’ (‘Inexplicably inhabited’), published in January 2010.

In 2010 Anna Enquist visited Anesthesiology, which resulted in the novel De Verdovers, published in 2011. The book sold over 100.000 copies and was translated in several others languages.

Also in 2010, the Flemish author Kristien Hemmerechts visited the Department of Hematology. The novel Haar bloed was published in 2012.

2010 2011 2012

5. Articles
Many articles have been written in the last ten year, but mainly in Dutch. Here is a choice. Articles in English will be added soon.