Tag Archives: James L. Franklin

From woodpeckers to Auenbrugger

James L. Franklin  Chicago, Illinois, United States Lesser golden-backed woodpecker (Dinopium benghalenese) – Central India (March 2019). Photo by the author.   Portrait of Leopold von Auenbrugger. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Inventum novum ex percussione… by Leopold von Auenbrugger. Wellcome Images. CC BY 4.0. Via Wikimedia. Anatomy of the woodpecker’s tongue. page 324 of “Annual report” (1902). State […]

Robert Schumann’s hand injury

James L. Franklin  Chicago, Illinois, United States   Robert and Clara Schumann. By Eduard Kaiser. 1847. Via Wikimedia  The death of the American pianist Leon Fleisher (1928–2020)1 whose brilliant career as a piano soloist was upended in his mid-thirties by the development of a crippling movement disorder affecting his right hand, brings to mind the composer […]

The Bengal tiger: Panthera tigris tigris

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States     The Indian subcontinent for millennia provided the ideal “jungle” habitat for the tiger. When the first Europeans arrived in India the animal was ubiquitous. At the close of the nineteenth century, when Kipling wrote The Jungle Books, 100,000 tigers were thought to roam the subcontinent. By […]

Rudyard Kipling and the medical profession

George Dunea James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois   Portrait of Rudyard Kipling from the biography Rudyard Kipling by John Palmer. 1907. Accessed via Wikimedia Born in Bombay but educated in England, the great master of the English language did not return to India until he was seventeen years old in 1882. He worked for local newspapers in […]

George Orwell and the Spanish Civil War: A brush with death

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Picture of George Orwell which appears in an old accreditation for the BNUJ. From: Archive.org Accessed via Wikimedia   Robert Capa’s “The Fallen Soldier” is the iconic photograph of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The original title was “Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Carro Muriano, September […]

A Cold War Vaccine: Albert Sabin, Russia, and the oral polio vaccine

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Albert Sabin (second from left) and Mikhail Chumakov (third from left). Credit: Courtesy Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, University of Cincinnati Libraries. Fair Use. In the midst of the 2020 Covid–19 pandemic, when […]

Philip Roth’s “Nemesis:” a lesson for today

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Polio patient in a wheelchair. Images like this were used to encourage individuals to receive polio vaccinations, which were made available in April, 1955. CDC Public Health Library. Source.  As we grapple with the impact of the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus, Covid–19, we may wish to […]

The last illness of Édouard Manet

George Dunea James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois   A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Édouard Manet. 1881-1882. The Courtauld Institute of Art. Accessed via Wikimedia. Édouard Manet (1832–1883) was one of the most famous modernist painters of nineteenth-century France. He painted life as creatively and elegantly as he lived in it, translating onto canvas the fashionable […]

The smell of burning rubber: the fatal illness of George Gershwin

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, USA   George Gershwin, 28 March 1937. Photograph by Carl Van Vetchen. 1937. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division. On the morning of Monday July 12, 1937, New Yorkers who had just suffered through five days of a heat wave that left thirty-eight people dead, awoke to read on the […]

The sound of one hand clapping: meditations on sinistrality

James L. Franklin   Paper presented to the Chicago Literary Club on April 7, 2008  It all began on the coldest morning of the season in early December 2006. Painters were still in our apartment putting the finishing touches on what had proven to be an all too prolonged renovation project. However—the end was now […]