Axel Martin Fredrik Munthe (31 October 1857 – 11 February 1949) was a Swedish-born physician and psychiatrist, best known as the author of The Story of San Michele, an autobiographical account of his life and work.
Axel Munthe had a multinational character and spoke several languages (Swedish, English, French, Italian fluently, and German at least passably), growing up in Sweden, attending medical school and opening his first practice in France. He was married to an English aristocrat, and spent most of his adult life in Italy. Munthe had a philanthropic nature, often treating the poor without charge, and risking his life on several occasions to offer medical help in times of war, disaster, or plague. He was a tireless advocate of animal rights, purchasing land to create a bird sanctuary near his home in Italy, advocating bans on painful traps, and keeping pets as diverse as an owl and a baboon, as well as many different types of dog. His writing is light-hearted, being primarily memoirs drawn from his real-life experiences, but often tinged with sadness or tragedy, and often using dramatic license. He primarily wrote about people and their idiosyncrasies, portraying the foibles of both the rich and the poor, but also about animals...
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