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but the paralysis was of short duration

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 4.

Harvey Cushing (1869-1939 *). “On preservation of the nerve supply to the brow, in the operative approach to the Gasserian Ganglion.” Annals of Surgery 43:1 (January 1906) : 1-4

at left from University of Michigan copy, digitized September 27, 2012
at right from University of Toronto copy, archive.org.

The article concerns a new procedure that preserves the “upper twig of the facial nerve” (Pes anserinus) rather than sacrificing it, as was previously done. Cushing was a leading and pioneering neurosurgeon of his time.

What strikes me here is the liveliness of the patient, her striking (and even modern!) hairstyle (shaved for the surgical procedure, of course), and her beauty (under duress of the surgery). I like even the collar of her sweater (or robe?). I wonder who she was, what life held in store for her. An impression I take from looking through scanned volumes of the Annals of Surgery is that a good number of the patients who are shown in photographs, were African American / mulatto — I wonder if that is the case here. Something about her — the passion in her face? her eyes? — brings Renée Jeanne Falconetti (1892-1946 *) to mind, in her role as Joan of Arc in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928 *).

epigram from page 4

aside —
a later (1944) photograph of Falconetti by Grete Stern (of ringl + pit), courtesy chagalov, also here.
another (includes good bio).

30 May 2015

paralysis; passion; tangents; H. Cushing, “On preservation of the nerve supply to the brow” (1906)