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17 Victorian Things: Matthews society, and in the case of albums, demonstrates a strong reinvestment in autograph, signature, and manuscript during the rise of print culture. Yet as Stewart observes, “The experience of the object lies outside the body’s experience—it is saturated with meanings that will never be fully revealed to us” (133).This aura constitutes the challenge and allure of writing about albums asVictorian things. Notes 1 For images of a representative early nineteenth-century manuscript album, see Patrizia Di Bello’s commentary on the project to digitize Mrs. George Birkbeck’s album. 2 Dora Wordsworth’s album is DCMS 170 in the WordsworthTrust collections, Grasmere. 3 Olivia Aitchison’s copy of The Album of the Heart is Houghton US 10990.8.25* in the Harvard Library collections. Works Cited The Album of the Heart. NewYork: Leavitt & Allen, [c. 1856]. The Birthday ScriptureText Book. London:The Book Society; Bristol:W. Mack, [c. 1870]. Collins,William Wilkie. The Woman in White. Ed. John Sutherland. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. Derrida, Jacques.“Signature Event Context.” A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds. Ed. Peggy Kamuf. NewYork: Columbia UP, 1991. 80–111. Di Bello, Patrizia.“Mrs Birkbeck’s Album:The Hand-Written and the Printed in Early Nineteenth-Century Feminine Culture.” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 1 (2005). . Fay,Theodore Sedgwick. Crayon Sketches. NewYork: Conner & Cooke, 1833. Lucas, E.V., ed. The Letters of Charles Lamb. 3 vols. London: J. M. Dent, 1935. Radway, Janice A.“Reading Is Not Eating: Mass-Produced Literature and theTheoretical, Methodological, and Political Consequences of a Metaphor.” Book Research Quarterly 2.3 (1986): 2–29. Saxton, Robert, ed. Mental Photographs: An Album for Confessions ofTastes,Habits,and Convictions. Imperial ed. NewYork: Leypoldt & Holt, 1869. Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature,the Gigantic,the Souvenir,the Collection. Durham: Duke UP, 1993. Stowe, Harriet Beecher. The Mayflower: Or,Sketches of Scenes and Characters among the Descendants of the Pilgrims. NewYork: Harper & Brothers, 1843. • Anaesthetic Inhaler Steph a n ie Snow • “Last evening, … an ulcerated tooth was extracted … without giving [the patient] the slightest pain. He was put into a kind of sleep, by inhaling a preparation,” announced the Boston Daily Journal on 1 October 1846. Later victorian review • Volume 34 Number 1 18 that month,William Morton’s demonstration of ether’s anaesthetic properties on Edward Abbott at Massachusetts General Hospital marked the definitive beginning of inhalational anaesthesia (S. Snow 10). By November 1846, the Boston medical community was convinced that ether was a viable new form of surgical pain relief. News of the Yankee dodge with ether arrived in London in December 1846 and was rapidly tested. Ether was widely available at chemists: highly pungent, it was useful in bronchial disorders and for relieving headaches and toothaches. But creating an effective ether inhaler proved exceedingly tricky. The story of the design and use of anaesthetic inhalers after 1846 provides a prism on the ebb and flow of Victorian medicine. Anaesthesia solved the problem of surgical and dental pain; it also created new medical dilemmas on the subject of risk and challenged long-held views on the purpose of pain. (The view that pain was beneficial and acted as a natural stimulant during the stress of surgery persisted until the 1860s.) Ether was a comparatively safe anaesthetic, but the risk of death from chloroform, which was introduced in 1847, was significant. Best approximations suggest that in the U.K. one patient died for every 2,500 or so administrations. Nor did the risk of death equate to the severity of surgery. Inhaling chloroform before a single tooth extraction was as risky as using it to remove the pain of an amputation. In the debates on the risks and benefits of anaesthesia, much attention was paid to the method of its administration, as patient response to ether John Snow’s chloroform inhaler. Reproduced courtesy of the University Librarian and Director,The John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester. 19 Victorian Things: Snow varied tremendously. Some patients, like Edward Abbott, became insensible easily; others struggled violently or became hysterical. During the first months of experimentation with ether, London surgeons and dentists contrived a plethora of inhalers of different shapes...


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