Tag Archives: James L. Franklin

Béla Bartók (1881-1945): The years in America, triumph over tragedy

James L. Franklin George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1. Béla Bartók in 1927. Unknown Photographer. Via Wikimedia. Black clouds of war were hanging over the world when Béla Bartók and his wife Ditta Pásztory (1903-1982) disembarked in New York Harbor on October 30, 1940. For the remainder of his life, Bartók would […]

Mozart and Salieri: from Pushkin to Shaffer

James L. Franklin1 Chicago, Illinois, United States La Calunnia La calunnia è un venticello, Un’auretta assai gentile Che insensibile, sottile, Leggermente, dolcemente, Incomincia a sussurar Piano, piano, terra, terra Sottovoce, sibilando, Va scorrendo, va ronzando S’introduce destramente E le teste ed I Cervelli . . .   Calumny is a little breeze A gentile zephyr […]

The three contraries of Benjamin Franklin: “the gout, the stone and not yet master of all my passions”

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1: Portrait of Benjamin Franklin. From a carbonic alloy engraving, drawn by C. N. Cochin 1777, engraved by A.H. Richie. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia  On May 23, 1785, Benjamin Franklin wrote from Passy on the outskirts of Paris to George Whatley that “at Fourscore the three […]

In praise of swimming: from Benjamin Franklin to Oliver Sacks

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Oliver Sacks as a young child with his father. Courtesy of the Oliver Sacks Foundation. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was not a physician, but many thought he was so-trained and referred to him as “Doctor” Franklin. After accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in […]

From woodpeckers to Auenbrugger

James 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 of […]

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 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 5, […]

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 […]