Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: James L. Franklin

  • Ben Hecht and the “Miracle of the Fifteen Murderers”

    James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   “Miracle of the Fifteen Murderers: The X Club holds a post-mortem“ by Ben Hecht. Collier’s Weekly, January 16, 1943, pp. 11–12, via The Unz Review. Fair use. The January 16, 1943 issue of Collier’s Weekly featured a short story by the famous and multifaceted author Ben Hecht…

  • Marmite: Its place in medical history, Lucy Wills, and the discovery of folic acid

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States On a recent visit to Botswana in southern Africa, the author was introduced to a food spread known as Marmite.* Apparently very popular in Africa, a distinctive jar of this condiment was present on the table at every meal. Our South African Apex Expedition guide, Liam Rainier, a consummate…

  • 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. FranklinChicago, 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 1971, a critical…

  • 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…