Tag Archives: William Wordsworth

“Troubled in my eyes”: The risks of reading and writing

Katherine Harvey London, England, United Kingdom   A medieval miniature showing St Mark reading a book and holding spectacles to his eyes. From Jean Poyer, The Tilliot Hours (c. 1500), The British Library. On January 1, 1660, a young Londoner named Samuel Pepys began to keep a diary. Over the next nine and a half […]

Under the lime tree: medicine, poetry, and the education of the senses

Alan Bleakley Sennen, West Cornwall, United Kingdom   Portrait of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), by Peter Vandyke, 1795. Edited by Sue Bleakley. When in the summer of 1797 Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s wife Sara accidentally spilled hot milk over his foot, causing serious burns such that Coleridge could not walk, he sat in the garden of […]

Coleridge and the albatross syndrome

Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Contemporary portrait. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the tenth and last child of the vicar of Ottery Saint Mary near Devonshire, England, was born on October 21, 1772. In vivid letters recounting his early years he describes himself as “a genuine Sans […]

The basest of the senses: medical unease with the sense of smell

Rebecca Shulman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “…the primitive organ of smell, the basest of the senses” – Patrick Suskind, Perfume   Paul Broca, who mapped the parts of the human brain involved in olfaction and argued that they had been supplanted by free will. For the past two centuries, the medical profession has had […]