understanding of idiocy relied on a phrenological
model of disability--a
Phrenology was a science deeply imbricated in antebellum performance cultures: popular among both the elite and working classes, phrenological
readings of celebrities were widely reported in the press and readings were often performed by phrenologists in public.
Within a short time, 40 to 50 phrenological
societies were founded across the country.
In the 1930s, Lavery and White developed an automated phrenological
machine called the Psycograph, which provided a numeric printout of a skull's shape.
Indeed, perhaps "Shakespeare and his father were briefly imprisoned" by Lucy--"but on this matter the records are silent" The story may be true after all, for, Ackroyd notes, Franz Joseph Gail believed that the phrenological
bump for theft is the same as that for the composition of plays.
It is along these lines that the Fowler brothers wrote many of their phrenological
It made sense to Geschwind, a believer in the phrenological
principles that had been launched at the start of the nineteenth century, that in a condition with poor language function, the plana would be bilaterally small (in one interpretation of phrenology, more brain tissue means more function).
The closing of the head's "doorways" is a Victorian phrenological
version of the "shades of the prison-house," as infant visionary memory is replaced by adult everyday activity, for Tennyson the "more and more" and for Wordsworth the "endless imitation" of "dialogues of business, love or strife.
Like Thoreau performing a phrenological
analysis of Walden Pond, discovering that this small parcel of earth not only reflects but actually embodies the transcendental depths of the heavens above--suggestive in its own way of Wessex or Yoknapatawpha--so too Danticat's homeland contains all the essential elements that nurture life.
This can be traced to the production of ``lowly'' utilitarian artefacts such as sanitary-ware and ceramic containers for ointment, toothpaste, phrenological
heads and ginger beer.
There are two valuable chapters (on Kant in his own time, and on his reappearance in the critique of Cubism), and some decorations: these include a piece on the phrenological
investigations of Kant's skull, and a chapter on the sublime, which was both the most easily comprehensible, but also the least interesting part of the book.
In fact, the second half of the century witnessed the invention and the perfection of certain phrenological
measuring devices: the craniograph (1860); the goniometer (1864), which measured facial angle; the stereograph (1867); the micrometric compass (1869); and the occipital gonimeter (1870) which, as its name suggests, measured the angle of the back of the skull (Haller, 1995, p.
His profound reading of Goethe's poem inspired by the contemplation of Scl;killer's skull encompassed not only the ghoulish circumstances surrounding the recovery of the skull from its mass grave but also such factors as Goethe's interest in the phrenological
theories of Franz Gall.
Gall claimed that among the brain's "twenty-three basic cerebral faculties" was an "organ of attachment" that predisposed individuals to intense friendship (a contention that proved captivating to Walt Whitman, who assimilated the Phrenological
concept of Adhesiveness into his Calamus poems).
In 1840 the Fowler brothers began publishing the Phrenological
Almanac, and in 1842 they assumed publication of the American Phrenological
Journal and Miscellany, which had been founded in 1838.