Alexandros Papadiamantis' 'Vardianos sta sporka': a new look in the light of the medical humanities


  • Iakovos Menelaou King's College London


Faith, Literature, Medical humanities, Papadiamantis, Religion


One of medical humanities' main goals, as it has emerged in recent years, is to promote and establish a more humane perspective in medicine. Doctors should focus on the patient and on his or her individual voice rather than on the disease. Through a study of Alexandros Papadiamantis' novel 'Vardianos sta sporka' ('Guardian of the Quarantined Ships'; 1893), I seek to show how this humane attitude is reflected in the German doctor in the story. The doctor, apart from utilizing the healing force of medicine, recognises the importance of faith and a mother's care as important elements for recovery in a patient with cholera.


Download data is not yet available.


Bien P. Kazantzakis and Linguistic Revolution in Greek Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1972. pp. 118-20.

Papadiamantis A. Alexandros Papadiamantis: Easter chanter. In: Ersoy A, Gorny M, Kechriotis V (eds). Modernism - Representations of National Culture. Hungary: Central European University Press; 2010. Kitroeff M (translator). Chapter III. Literary representations of the "national character". pp. 184-9.

Papadiamantis A. Vardianos Sta Sporka. Athens: Vivliopoleion tis Estias; 1999:1-296. Greek.

Magiorkinis E. The cholera outbreak in the Balkan Wars. Journal of the Medical Inspectorate of Armed Forces. 2013;1(1):179-86. Greek.

Barua D, Greenough WB III (eds). Current Topics in Infectious Disease: Cholera. New York: Springer-Verlag; 2013:1-372.

Schlundt DG, Franklin MD, Patel K, McClellan L, Larson C, Niebler S, Hargreaves M. Religious affiliation, health behaviors and outcomes: Nashville REACH 2010. Am J Health Behav. 2008;32(6):714-24.

Andreopoulos A. The Sign of the Cross: the Gesture, the Mystery, the History. Massachusetts: Paraclete Press. 2014. pp. 90, 99.

Fhearraigh IM. Medicine, film, and literature: the purpose and benefits of including medical humanities in medical education. Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: Student Medical Journal. 2008;1(1):63-5.

Kirklin D, Richardson R. Medical humanities and tomorrow’s doctors. In: Medical Humanities: a Practical Introduction. Kirklin D, Richardson R (eds). London: Royal College of Physicians. 2001. pp. 1-6.

Hooker C. The medical humanities: a brief introduction. Aust Fam Physician. 2008;37(5):369-70.

Greaves D, Evans M. Medical humanities. Med Hum. 2000;26:1-2.

Bolton G. Understanding misunderstanding in medical consultation. In: Medical Humanities: a Practical Introduction. Kirklin D, Richardson R (eds). London: Royal College of Physicians. 2001. pp. 89-108.

Magaletta PR, Duckro PN. Prayer in the Medical Encounter. J Relig Health. 1996;35(3):203-9.

Wittink MN, Joo JH, Lewis LM, Barg FK. Losing faith and using faith: older African Americans discuss spirituality, religious activities, and depression. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24(3):402-7.

Ledford CJ, Canzona MR, Seehusen DA, Cafferty LA, Schmidt ME, Huang JC, Villagran MM. Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality: a pilot study. Fam Med. 2015;47(2):138-42.




How to Cite

Menelaou, I. (2019). Alexandros Papadiamantis’ ’Vardianos sta sporka’: a new look in the light of the medical humanities. Research and Humanities in Medical Education, 6, 6–11. Retrieved from



Original Article