Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: French Revolution

  • A tale of three doctors

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Early print of an execution by guillotine, as proposed by Dr. Guillotin. Jean-François Janinet, c. 1789–1791. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris via Wikimedia. Public domain. “How true it is that it is difficult to benefit mankind without some unpleasantness resulting for oneself.” – Dr. Edme-Claude Bourru, giving Dr. Guillotin’s eulogy…

  • Dr. Dominique Larrey

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Larrey provokes contractions on a recently amputated limb. Illustration from Les merveilles de la science, 1867-1891, Tome 1, by Louis Figuier. Paris: Furne, Jouvet. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Dominique Jean Larrey (1766-1842), the orphaned son of a shoemaker, was raised by an uncle who was a surgeon and became a…

  • Jean-Paul Marat, physician and revolutionary

    JMS PearceHull, England The murder of the notorious Jean-Paul Marat in his bath in July 1793 by Charlotte Corday is a tale where revolution, art, and medicine each played a part. When the commoners stormed the Bastille royal prison in Paris on July 14, 1789, to defy the Ancien Régime, they struck a blow for…

  • Another look at the medical problems of Jean-Paul Marat: Searching for a unitary diagnosis

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) was a practicing physician, scientist, and a leader of the French Revolution. He also suffered from a chronic, intractable skin condition, which troubled the last five years of his life. A tormenting itch caused him to spend whole days1 in his custom-made bathtub, from which he wrote revolutionary articles…

  • Madame Defarge: The psychology of vengeance

    Sarah Jane I. IrawaParañaque City, Philippines “And with these hands I keep a memoryOf the ones who’ve done such wrongUntil the judgment comes and all of us are freeI knit a picture of the way it ought to be.”1 In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens sketches a portrait of Madame Defarge, “a woman of…

  • Jean Corvisart: Napoleon’s physician

    An outstanding diagnostician and pioneer in cardiology, Jean Nicolas Corvisart de Marets has been called the founder of French clinical medicine. He advocated the careful clinical examination of the heart, described syndromes and signs of heart disease that to this day still bear his name, and popularized percussion of the chest as a diagnostic tool,…