By L. S. Jacyna
This can be the 1st in-depth research of the English neurologist and polymath Sir Henry Head (1861-1940). Head bridged the space among technological know-how and the humanities. He used to be a printed poet who had shut hyperlinks with such figures as Thomas Hardy and Siegfried Sassoon. His examine into the frightened approach and the connection among language and the mind broke new flooring. L S Jacyna argues that those advances has to be contextualised inside of wider Modernist debates approximately conception and language. In his time, Head used to be top identified for his learn into the human frightened method, but in addition labored at the localization of the language functionality in the mind. Head noticeably revised present rules concerning the physiological foundation of language. in addition to its influence on medication and biology, this paintings used to be visible to have implications for different disciplines together with linguistics and social anthropology. this significant new research attracts upon a variety of formerly unpublished assets.
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Extra info for Medicine and Modernism: A Biography of Sir Henry Head (Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century)
93 Volkmann was indeed a surgeon of international repute. 94 He had in 1879 established a surgical ‘Klinik’ at Halle housed in one of the ‘great new buildings’ erected in the university, which drew students from around the world. Head set out a detailed account of his experience of this Klinik in a letter intended, one suspects, as much for Marcus Beck as for his parents. He noted that Volkmann was ‘a peculiar looking man with long red “weepers” such as a typical Englishman is supposed to have’.
A reading in September 1902 of William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience (which he found ‘a most disappointing book’)116 prompted Head to go into some detail about how he became a sceptic. He did not portray this process as a loss of his faith. Instead Head saw his change in worldview as a conversion expe- The Making of a Neurologist 37 rience with all the associated psychological states that involved. Conversion, he noted, could be either a sudden event or a slow process. My conversion to religious scepticism occurred gradually.
Head told his mother that the resultant anxiety brought on a recurrence of the problem that had plagued him since Charterhouse: ‘My ear at first was nearly well but the last few days owing I think to the worry &c. 70 The institution that Head attended was the result of the merger in 1817 of the old University of Halle and the University of Wittenberg. Both institutions had a history as schools of theology stretching back to the Reformation. By 1880, however, Halle, in common with other German universities, had also become a centre for advanced research and training in natural science and medicine.