Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Spain

  • The role of doctors in the intellectual life of Spain

    “One of the aspects of Spanish intellectual life which struck me repeatedly was the fact that civic leadership so often rested in the hands of medical men. They wrote the best books, made the most daring statements and were revered as the elements of society that could be trusted to support good movements. The doctors…

  • Dancing with spiders: tarantellas and tarantism

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “There are always hysterical people undergoing extraordinary cures.” – Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man Etching of people dancing the tarantella and playing music as an antidote to a tarantula bite. Wellcome Collection. Public domain.   The industrial city of Taranto is in the “heel” of boot-shaped Italy. The Romans called…

  • A tangled web: stealing newborns in twentieth-century Spain

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Newborn infant. Photo by United States Children’s Bureau, 1940s. National Library of Medicine Images from the History of Medicine. The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. “We were Europe’s baby supermarket and babies were stolen for sixty years.”1 — Inés Madrigal   Twentieth-century…

  • The Queen’s quickening: The phantom pregnancies of Mary I

    Eve Elliot Dublin, Ireland   Portrait of Queen Mary I of England by Anthonis Mor, 1554. Prado Museum, Madrid Spain. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. In November 1554, the people of England believed a miracle had taken place. Resplendent on her new throne, Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII, proudly revealed that she was with…

  • Guadalupe: One of Spain’s oldest schools of medicine

    Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. The Monastery of Guadalupe. Main entrance. Photo by Rafa G. Recuero. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 ES. Guadalupe, a small Spanish town in the district of Cáceres, Extremadura, arose around a monastery. Legend says that a shepherd named Gil Cordero was looking for a stray sheep when…

  • The intricate forest of the neuron

    Silvia Maina Torino, Italia   A Purkinje neuron from the human cerebellum. Ink drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Entering the room, I was welcomed by some small and attractive ink drawings. In the first, like a genealogical tree or a medieval miniature, thin branches stretched to fill the frame. In the…

  • Peter Panum and the “geography of disease”

    Kathryne DycusMadrid, Spain In 1846, the Faroe Islands experienced an outbreak of measles, the likes of which had not been seen in sixty-five years. The Danish government called upon a newly graduated physician, Peter Ludwig Panum, to investigate and control its spread. Panum wrote of the experience in his seminal text, “Observations Made During the…

  • Hispanic, Latin, Latino, Latina, or Latinx?

    Bernardo NgImperial County, California, United States The first time I became aware of a scientific group using the term Latinx was in 2018 during a meeting in Austin, Texas. It is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina that does away with the gender label, making it more inclusive to the growing sexual diversity of…

  • Diego Rivera and Hernan Cortes

    Nicolas RoblesBadajoz, Spain Diego Rivera was one of Mexico’s most famous artists. Nowadays he is also known for his marriage to Frida Kahlo, another great Mexican artist. Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Rivera was an atheist and a Communist radical who criticized the Mexican government and foreign domination. He created the History of Mexico mural in…

  • E.T.A. Hoffmann’s neurological disease

    Nicolás RoblesBadajoz, Spain Ich bin das, was ich scheine, und scheine das nicht, was ich bin, mir selbst ein unerklärlich Rätsel, bin ich entzweit mit meinem Ich!I am what I seem and do not seem what I am, an inexplicable mystery to myself, am I at odds with myself!— E.T.A. Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels…