This was the first comic novel by Richard Gordon, published in 1952. Set in the fictitious St. Swithin's Hospital in London, the story concerns the exploits and various pranks of a young medical student (known in film adaptations as Simon Sparrow, but in the novel as Richard Gordon). What we have here, however, is an uncorrected proof copy, the author being 'Gordon Gwynn', and the young student is also called 'Gordon Gwynn'. One can only speculate on the possible permutations before the publishers and author finally settled on the name 'Richard Gordon'. This humorous portrayal of the medical world of the 1950s is perhaps one of the earliest examples of the link between medicine and humour, which has been so much a feature ever since - witness Graeme Garden, Phil Hammond, Paul Sinha and many more.
Gordon Stanley Ostlere (1921–2017), better known by his pen name Richard Gordon, was an English surgeon and anaesthetist. As Richard Gordon, Ostlere wrote numerous novels, screenplays for film and television and accounts of popular history, mostly dealing with the practice of medicine. He was best known for the 'Doctor' series of comic novels and the subsequent film, television, radio and stage adaptations of these. His "The Alarming History of Medicine" (1993), was followed by "The Alarming History of Sex".
Our book is an uncorrected proof copy, in original cream paper covers with title etc in black letters on front and spine. There is some age-related damage, particularly to the top & bottom of the spine, with some brown spotting on the covers and textblock edges; the exterior is generally a little grubby with age. Inside, however, the binding is firm and all pages clean and bright. A white pasted label inside the front cover indicates that this may have been a book in preparation with Charles Pick, a publisher at Michael Joseph during the period in which is was published. A curiosity for the collector.