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In ‘A Medical Document’ (1894), Theodore Foster, a prosperous GP from the Midlands, speaks of the divergent incidence of the disease practitioners encountered and the medical afflictions that occur in fiction. He cannily notes that medical conditions are commonly used to provide or support melodrama and sensation but rarely to promote the kind of everyday occurrences that give definition to realism. These more quotidian representations of medical practice in popular fiction are at the centre of this chapter. Looking directly at the commonplace in Conan Doyle’s series collected under the title Round the Red Lamp (1894) and L. T. Meade’s Stories from the Diary of a Doctor (1893–95), as well as considering it in relation to its much more common fraternity in the genres of romance, the chapter reveals not only the significance of the everyday for portrayals of professionalised medicine, but also shows how realist representation is a vehicle for emerging critiques of medical knowledge making. The chapter moves beyond the normal register of the anxieties generated by fin-de-siècle medicine to focus on the often overlooked territory of pharmacology, reading fin-de-siècle medical fictions for both the sensational and the everyday when it came to how physic and new drugs were used and abused.
Transition from the military environment into a civilian environment is a topic that has seen increasing attention within the last two decades. There is, in the literature, a clearly articulated issue that transition from the military to the civilian world is somewhat different to transitioning from school to work, or from career to career, or from work to retirement. Many, but not all, of the extant examples regarding military transition are case studies, focus groups or small-scale qualitative surveys. The following article details a large-scale survey that took place in New Zealand in 2019. From just over 1400 responses, a wide range of information was gathered. The aim of the survey was to uncover the experiences of military who had undergone transition within New Zealand. In this respect, the survey was exploratory. We report here the qualitative results that expand the existing body of knowledge of military transition. Our results are in line with international results and demonstrate that a large majority of respondents had a less than desirable transition experience. The contribution made therefore is a reinforcement that current practice in this area is needing a great deal of attention. The following outlines the experiences our New Zealand-based respondents had and how this mirrors the extant international literature. As this was the first survey of its kind to attract large numbers of respondents within New Zealand, the results and discussion that follow present aspects of transition that the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force may wish to consider when planning future transition programmes.
(1) To characterise changes in dead space fraction during the first 120 post-operative hours in neonates undergoing stage 1 palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome, including hybrid procedure; (2) to document whether dead space fraction varied by shunt type (Blalock–Taussig shunt and Sano) and hybrid procedure; and (3) to determine the association between dead space fraction and outcomes.
Retrospective chart review in neonates undergoing stage 1 palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in a cardiac intensive care unit over a consecutive 30-month period. A linear mixed model was used to determine the differences in dead space over time. Multivariable linear regression and a multivariable linear mixed model were used to assess the association between dead space and outcomes at different time points and over time, respectively.
Thirty-four neonates received either a Blalock–Taussig shunt (20.5%), Sano shunt (59%), or hybrid procedure (20.5%). Hospital mortality was 8.8%. Dead space fractions in patients undergoing the hybrid procedure were significantly lower on day 1 (p = 0.01) and day 2 (p = 0.02) and increased over time. A dead space fraction >0.6 on post-operative days 3–5 was significantly associated with decreased duration of mechanical ventilation in all surgical groups (p < 0.001).
Dead space fraction >0.6 on post-operative days 3–5 was associated with lower duration of mechanical ventilation in all surgical groups. A more comprehensive, prospective assessment of dead space in this delicate patient population would likely be beneficial in improving outcomes.
Archaeology is often considered one of the most visual of the sciences to emerge in the nineteenth century. Its dependence on description and illustration, the use of photography as a tool to support its practice, its centrality in museums and exhibitions, and the employment of its discoveries in popular entertainments, as well as in pictorial art, attest to the many cultures of visuality with which it inter-penetrated and inscribed mutual influence. Yet unlike other scientific disciplines its accumulation of knowledge did not rely upon technologies that extended visual capacity. In contrast to medicine and astronomy which needed microscopes to look at the very small and telescopes to look at the very large, archaeology could look deep into the past with the human eye alone. The most privileged of archaeologists was therefore the fieldworker, who could look with their own eyes at archaeological objects in situ as well as study them in the museum, university or other ‘centre of calculation’ as Bruno Latour has named these sites of knowledge presentation. Yet the embodied vision of the archaeological fieldworker – embodied not only within the organs of perception but also in the cultural milieu of the archaeological site – was far from simple. The fieldworker was caught up in a series of overlapping ways of seeing that drew influence (often unwonted and unnoticed) from the social, political and personal relations with which the archaeological site was necessarily involved.
Early in the summer of 1873 at the Egyptian Hall in London's Piccadilly, the magician John Maskelyne (with his assistant George Cooke) was performing one of the most successful parts of his magical act: the spiritualist séance. Maskelyne's hands were tied securely, he was placed inside a cabinet on a chair and the door was closed, leaving only a small window high up, that allowed access from inside to out. Very quickly noises began inside the cabinet; a tambourine was played and then thrown out through the window onto the stage. Cooke rushed to open the doors of the cabinet, revealing Maskelyne still securely tied and sat on his chair. Was this the dead returned as spirits? Although not offering any explanation to the audience for the extraordinary phenomena produced, the character of Maskelyne and Cooke's performance clearly indicated that what had been seen was trickery (see Figure 9.1). This was the skill of the magician not the return of the dead. The aim – besides drawing in a large audience and its revenue – was to explode the claims of spiritualists, whom Maskelyne (like many other magicians) believed to be defrauding the public with their claims of spirit communication.
Meanwhile, at the Cavendish Rooms in London in June 1873 George Sexton, editor of the spiritualist periodical the New Era, gave a lecture on spirit-mediums and conjurers. His aim was to ‘deal severely’ with magicians who ‘burlesque and ridicule the whole subject of spirit-communion’ by employing their magical expertise to reproduce the phenomena found at spiritualist séances.
I've taken to the eye, my boy. There's a fortune in the eye. A man grudges a half-crown to cure his chest or his throat, but he'd spend his last dollar over his eye. There's money in ears, but the eye is a gold mine!
Arthur Conan Doyle
This is a book about vision and its historical fragility. It deals particularly with vision in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, or what might be called Victorian and modernist ways of seeing. If this were its only organizing principles it would be a vast book, indeed it would probably be a small library of books, such is the extent of scholarly interest in vision, visuality and perception. However, it has a particular focus (I recognize this pun and want to return to it in a moment). In it, I consider the role of vision across science and literature: how instruments, objects, places, people, eyes, ideologies, discourses and imaginations together make the many ways of seeing that characterize the second half of the nineteenth century and the opening decades of the twentieth. This is a project, largely, of cultural phenomenology. I am not interested in the things scientists or writers (and their fictional characters) saw, but what they did and thought when they looked at them, and what they said about that looking.
While fictions were clearly interventions in scientific debate, as argued in the previous chapter, they were also, in certain specific texts and on particular occasions, conscious creative efforts to contribute to scientific knowledge more directly. As this chapter will show, popular fictions did make attempts to become popular science and to employ certain epistemological categories of knowledge-making in the same way as professional scientific practitioners. At the same time, scientific knowledge-makers employed creative fictional tactics to enhance their understanding of scientific objects under scrutiny.
Sometime during the opposition of Mars in 1894 Percival Lowell began to write a long verse poem entitled ‘Mars’. The poem draws on his experiences of nightly observations of the planet and although it is not obviously a work of science it should be read as one part of his many reflections on the dissemination of astronomical knowledge. In the early stages of the poem, where Lowell's untidy versification suggests a process of speedy writing under the influence of an immediate inspiration, Lowell stresses his desire to know the answers to his many questions about Mars:
We know just enough to long to know more
Of that first habitable shore
Across the ocean of the sky,
Ocean whose aether-waves of light,
Buoyant to nought more gross than sight,
To thought alone give passage o'er
Using ‘we’ and ‘our’ Lowell regards his quest for understanding as one shared by everyone.
On Christmas Day in 1892 Flinders Petrie wrote to Miss Bradbury, Amelia Edwards's closest friend and companion on her Egyptian travels, of his growing frustration at the excavatory practices of the Egypt Exploration Fund (EEF) archaeologist Edouard Naville, who, he claimed, was destroying important Egyptian antiquities. A week later, in a letter to Edward Maunde Thompson, the director of the British Museum, he returned to the subject, concluding that he was concerned ‘solely with the subject of the destruction of archaeological material, which is equally to be deprecated whether done in the name of science or by a plundering Arab’. He proposed that the EEF send as a replacement a more capable man, Howard Carter, ‘who understands what he sees’ even if he had not undertaken the ‘formal education for the best work in excavating’. To be anxious about the loss of precious artefacts is hardly surprising, and it should be even less so in the context of the EEF's stated intention to save Egyptian antiquities from destruction. Yet Petrie's letters do still break certain boundaries of British propriety: of professional courtesy, certainly, but also of personal politeness, by explicitly regarding Naville as having fallen to the level of the Arab antiquities thief. Yet what is most interesting about Petrie's attack on Naville is his excessive anxiety about the loss of artefactual objects: the ‘things’ of Egyptological research.
By 1894, some five years after leading Victorian scientists had called upon the state to support the creation of a ‘Pasteur Institute in Britain’, the building of the British Institute of Preventive Medicine on the Chelsea Embankment was nearing completion. This year, however, was not to be characterized by celebrations of British achievements in bacteriology, so long the preserve of French and German science, but by fierce public opposition, both to the Institute and the location of its laboratories. One particularly public protest took place on 28 April 1894, when protestors – drawn largely from anti-vivisection and labour groups – conducted a parade and mass meeting in Pimlico, which passed by the site of the British Institute laboratories on the way to its rallying point on the Old Pimlico Pier. The handbill for this event very specifically set out its grounds for opposition: ‘to protest against the Erection of the proposed Institute of Preventive Medicine (so called) on the CHELSEA EMBANKMENT (Near Chelsea Bridge)’. Clearly, the geographical placement of the laboratory was one key aspect of public opposition, with ‘public’ in this instance consisting of a miscellany of anti-vivisectionists, suffragists, radical club activists, working-class and friendly societies members, and local residents. The other key areas of opposition to the British Institute were its desire to undertake vivisection, and the concern that the diseases studied at the Institute would be ‘disseminat[ed] … by the germs flying about in the air’ throughout Chelsea.
While Houdini's magical performances and Conan Doyle's fictionalized optical illusions reveal a sympathetic synergy in their articulation of a scopic democracy – and in the process undermine modernity's assumed fragmentation of optical space – their very different relationships to spiritualism can be read as a fracture of that sympathy. Moreover, their fierce opposition to one another on the subject of spiritualism illuminates the possible divergent paths of science and vision under pressure from early twentieth-century commodity capitalism and its stress on conformity to spectacular society. This final chapter will consider Houdini's and Conan Doyle's responses to the key site of spiritualist practice – the séance – as a starting point for a more extensive investigation of the role of vision as it crosses from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, or to put it differently, as it shifts from Victorianism to modernity.
Spiritualism's role in British and American culture has been broadly examined by historians. Its gender, racial and class politics, its role as a new religious movement and its relationships to the ‘dominant ideology of the era’, as Molly McGrath puts it, have all been fertile ground for a consideration of the place of the séance in nineteenth- and twentieth-century societies. Spiritualism’s relationship to science has also been investigated, most profi tably by Richard Noakes, and partly as a result of this work, and partly due to the turn towards the periphery in history of science scholarship generally, the séance has gained some cache as an interesting site of scientific contest.
The main route I have taken through this book has been the broad path where science and literature are knitted together. I have traced their individual paths, of course; and I imagine them topographically as running in parallel, one always visible to the other but kept apart by a thick vegetation between. More interesting territory, however, has been those moments when the two paths close up to form a wider route, broken still by a grassy central reservation but one which is worn by continual crossings over and is sometimes entirely eroded.
This analogy, I hope, registers the fact that science and literature remain different but sometimes come close to being the same. I have suggested, for example, that literature makes efforts to become science. This is not to say that the literary text is on a path that leads it to be, in the end, a work of science. In fact the opposite is true: in becoming science, the literary text enters into a series of correspondences with science which positions it in relation to science. The literary text does not imitate or resemble science, but by becoming science, as Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari argue, it ‘form[s] a block that runs its own line “between” the terms in play and beneath assignable relations’.