Tag Archives: William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth: “The blind poet”?

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1. Pickersgill’s portrait 1833 William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, on April 7, 1770. He was the totemic father of the Lakeland poets, who extolled the relation between man and the natural world: a wedding between nature and the human mind that to him symbolized […]

Book review of Albemarle Street: Portraits, personalities and presentations at the Royal Institution

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover to Albemarle Street: Portraits, personalities and presentations at the Royal Institution In this fascinating book, the late Professor Meurig Thomas, a distinguished chemist, former Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge University, and an accomplished popularizer of science tells the story of one of Britain’s greatest scientific institutions, which for […]

Elizabeth Barrett Browning—isolation and the artist

Elizabeth Lovett Colledge  Jacksonville, Florida, United States   Portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Evert Duykinck Via Wikimedia. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is perhaps best known for the poem “How do I Love Thee,” addressed to her husband Robert Browning, as well as their courtship, elopement, and subsequent years together in Europe. However, one might revisit […]

“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 […]