Monthly Archives: April 2019

Swaddling: Forever bound in controversy?

Jennifer Borst Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia   “The Virgin with the Swaddled Child,” 1520. Albrecht Dürer, German As a bleary-eyed new parent, I found myself embracing the quiescence and prolonged slumber swaddling offered my restless and sleepless first-born. Strategic bundling subsequently proved disappointingly ineffective with my second colicky child and unnecessary with my jovial, naturally sleepy […]

The Montreal Experiments: brainwashing and the ethics of psychiatric experimentation

Shaan Bhambra Montreal, Canada   The Allan Memorial Institute (pictured here), where the Montreal Experiments were conducted as a part of the CIA’s MKUltra project on brainwashing, continues to serve patients of the Psychiatry Department of the Royal Victoria Hospital. Photo by Flickr user chrisinphilly5448. “We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.” […]

Heroes and alcohol

Cal Bartley Penarth, South Wales, United Kingdom   Photo by Cal Bartley It would seem that literary heroes cannot function without alcohol, as so many great books reference alcohol in a positive light. Even if it does not lubricate the plot, a glance at many classics suggest that a stiff drink is needed for the […]

“Something monomanical”: obsession and the unity of effect

Jack Rosser Herefordshire, England, United Kingdom   A portrait of Poe in 1848, not long prior to his passing in 1849. The concept of monomania first gathered popularity in France at the beginning of the nineteenth century; the term “referred to a type of mental disorder in which a person would have fixed, and often […]

Madness and gender in Gregory Doran’s Hamlet

Sarah Bahr Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-52, Tate Britain, London. In director Gregory Doran’s 2009 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, David Tennant’s Hamlet becomes a bawdy lunatic who consciously or unconsciously uncouples himself from reality. The intentionality of Hamlet’s madness is more muddled than in Shakespeare’s text because of the […]

“Love Tea” and The Antelope Wife

Sarah Bahr Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   An antelope in South Africa. (verified free-to-use image) Klaus Shawano’s abduction of the Ojibwe woman Sweetheart Calico in Louise Erdrich’s novel The Antelope Wife is hardly a congenial affair. He leads her to his van — nervous, not speaking — and gives her a cup of hot tea, […]

Medicine and trust, behind bars

Gail Burke New Orleans, Louisiana, United States   The Little Prisoner. Goya, Francisco c. 1810–1812. Etching and Engraving on Woven Paper. Published in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Vol. XXII. Public Domain: Artstor through Michigan State University Library. Goya enjoyed great prestige as portrait painter of the Spanish elite. However, in his private work his focus was […]

“If it be a poor man”: medieval medical treatment for the rich and poor

Erin Connelly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “Urine Wheel,” Almanack, Free Library of Philadelphia – The Rosenbach, MS 1004/29, fol. 9 C (York, England, 1364), courtesy of Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis. OPenn Repository Great disparities in wealth and differences in access to healthcare between the top and bottom of society are hardly new experiences in human history.1-4 […]

The forgotten many of the Guatemalan Syphilis Experiments

Harsh Patolia Roanoke, Virginia, United States   Inoculation site of participant. Image from the Records of Dr. John C. Cutler housed in the National Archives. In 2005, medical historian Dr. Susan Reverby foraged through boxes in the stuffy archives of the library of the University of Pittsburgh for the papers of Thomas Parran, the surgeon […]

The female body dissected: Anatomy and John Keats

Niamh Davies-Branch Aberdeen, United Kingdom   A boiled gland with rose-like folds from Sir Astley Cooper’s Plates of the Anatomy of the Breast. Plates of the Anatomy of the Breast by Sir Astley Cooper in Sir Duncan Rice Library Special Collections, Aberdeen, UK John Keats, poet of the great odes, was also a surgical apprentice […]