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244 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 someone had to look after the wounded and sick that resulted from them.= There is a faint sniff here of editorial worry that to tackle the fit between Nightingale=s extraordinary organizational abilities and the causes to which she harnessed them would leave her once again vulnerable to charges of despotism and arrogance. But surely the complex Nightingale we encounter in these vast volumes is more than enough to make such easy disparagements impossible to sustain. The Nightingale of these volumes is the complex, compelling figure McDonald claims her to be: learning >intrigue= at her Harley Street Institute for Sick Gentlewomen; fending off her family; instructing new owners of her treasured >thoroughbred= cats in cat care; suggesting the content of a Children=s Bible; mourning Herbert=s death; reminding her mother that >No woman ever before directed the labour of a Government office.= This is a prodigious undertaking. McDonald and her editorial team are to be commended for so ambitious and successfully realized a project. (SUSAN HAMILTON) Terrie M. Romano. Making Medicine Scientific: John Burdon Sanderson and the Culture of Victorian Science Johns Hopkins University Press xiv, 226. US $39.95 In this first scholarly study of John Scott Burdon Sanderson (1828B1905), Oxford University=s inaugural Waynflete professor of physiology (1882B93), Terrie Romano held an enviable opportunity to explore some of the profound philosophical dilemmas that accompanied the growth of science in Victorian culture. Situating Burdon Sanderson not only at the intersection of medical practice and scientific research but also on the historical watershed between classical and modern educational streams, Romano undertook the important task of assessing the professional career of a complex (and highly ambivalent) transitional figure. Instead of the full-scale biography for which there surely exists sufficient documentation, the author bases an inexplicably truncated tripartite narration (>From Evangelical to Medical Officer of Health=; >Making a Career in Medical Research=; and >The Medical Sciences: Critics and Allies=) almost exclusively upon research in Burdon Sanderson=s personal papers and publications, heavily supplemented by secondary sources. Burdon Sanderson=s overall historical significance is only hinted at in the resulting work, as is the intriguing role of his wife, Ghetal Herschell. One has to go elsewhere to learn of crucial details that suggest still deeper connections. Romano does well to root her subject=s world-view in his strongly evangelical upbringing. Burdon Sanderson=s family background urged upon him the driving combination of community service and critical dissidence that inspired his medical training at Edinburgh; his advanced humanities 245 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 experimental training in physiology with Claude Bernard at Paris; and his pioneering work in public health in London during the 1850sB60s. Yet she makes no mention (outside of the appendix) that, as professor of practical physiology and histology at University College, London (1870); superintendent of the Brown Institution, Lambeth, England=s first pathology laboratory (1871B78); and Jodrell Professor of human physiology at University College (1874B82), Burdon Sanderson attracted a succession of impressionable medical apprentices, including a young William Osler, to his physiology laboratory. Romano does show that Burdon Sanderson cemented his reputation as a pioneering British experimental physiologist through his Handbook for the Physiological Laboratory (1873); that his earlier experiments with French and German graphing instruments inspired Charles Darwin to ask him during the 1870s to confirm that electrical activity accompanied movement in Venus flytraps; and that his conclusions incited responses from continental and British scientists, including severe criticism. But she never divulges J.D. Hooker=s special mention of these experiments in his presidential address to the Royal Society of London (1878), or that various research programs in the United States followed up his work in subsequent decades. Romano=s interpretation hinges on Burdon Sanderson=s >failure= to establish Oxford=s school of physiology, for which she faults his chronically depressive personality, his fundamentally >derivative= work, and his anachronistic abhorrence of scientific explanation as self-indulgent theorizing. Yet she clearly recognizes the class- and tradition-bound vested interests who resisted Oxford=s transition to a modern medical curriculum because they stood to lose their...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 244-246
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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