Tag Archives: England

Hans Christian Andersen, James Young Simpson, and ether frolics

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Hans Christian Andersen in 1869. Source: Odense City Museums via Wikimedia. In May 1847, the widely admired writer of literary fairy tales and stories Hans Christian Andersen (Fig 1) left Copenhagen on a tour of Germany and Holland and arrived in London on June 23. There […]

The pineal: seat of the soul

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Pineal gland The pineal for millennia had been a structure of mystery. In Ancient Egyptian culture, The Eye of Horus was a sign of prosperity and protection, often referred to as the third eye. In Ayurvedic physiology it corresponds to the sixth chakra—Ajna, located in the […]

William Wordsworth: “The blind poet”?

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1. Pickersgill’s portrait 1833 William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, on April 7, 1770. He was the totemic father of the Lakeland poets, who extolled the relation between man and the natural world: a wedding between nature and the human mind that to him symbolized […]

What makes a polymath, a genius, or a man who knows everything?

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Einstein playing his violin. From CMUSE via Quora. Public domain. The question posed in this title is of course imponderable and ridiculous, but nevertheless fascinating. Until the Enlightenment (c. 1750–1800), an intellectual “Renaissance man” could have read most of the important books printed. He might well […]

Nikolai Medtner: his forgotten melodies, music, and life

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States Nikolai Medtner recording for HMV, 1947. Photographer unknown, copyright controlled, courtesy of Warner Classics.   The music of Nikolai Medtner (1880 -1951) is among the most enigmatic of the piano repertoire. Medtner was an opinionated composer who admired Rachmaninoff and rejected all attempts at modernism in music. Rachmaninoff met […]

Samuel Johnson: “the great convulsionary”

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom Samuel Johnson. Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1772. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   This paper reproduces in an abridged form an earlier article by its author1 appraising the evidence that Samuel Johnson suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. Several authors have commented on the many eccentricities of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Fig 1).2 […]

JLW Thudichum: neglected “Father of neurochemistry”

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum. Photo. National Library of Medicine. Public domain. Knowledge of diseases of the nervous system reflects an understanding of the basic sciences of neural mechanisms and organization. In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the Nobel prizewinners Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón […]

Silas Weir Mitchell and causalgia

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Silas Weir Mitchell. Photo by Frederick Gutekunst, 1881. National Library of Medicine. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Silas Weir Mitchell (1829 – 1914) (Fig 1) was born in Philadelphia, the seventh physician in three generations. Webb Haymaker gives an early clue to his unconventional personality when he […]

Epidemic cholera and Joseph William Bazalgette

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom     Fig 1. Joseph Bazalgette. Photo by Lock & Whitfield. 1877. National Portrait Gallery London. Via Wikimedia Rampant epidemics of cholera took many lives in the Victorian era. These epidemics were finally overcome with the discovery that cholera was a waterborne infection and by massive reconstruction of the […]

Hypochondria

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1: Cover of Hypochondriasis. A practical treatise by John Hill. Source. In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold; Alike fantastic, if too new, or old: Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. — […]