New Project Publication

Emily Cock’s essay, ‘Off Dropped the Sympathetic Snout’: Shame, Sympathy and Plastic Surgery at the Beginning of the Long Eighteenth Century’ explores the interplay of ‘sympathy’ as a moral sentiment and medical phenomenon within stories of nasal reconstruction. Though Gaspare Tagliacozzi stipulated in De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem (Venice, 1597) that the graft for a new nose would be taken from a patient’s own arm, other medical writers and satires such as Samuel Butler’s Hudibras promoted the spurious rumour that the graft would be cut from another man’s backside, and that it would shrivel and die when its donor did: Butler describes the ‘learned Taliacotius’, who


The brawny part of porter’s bum,

Cut supplemental noses which

Would last as long as parent breech,

But when the date of nock was out,

Off dropped the sympathetic snout. (I.i.279–284)

The death of the flesh was explained by a medicalised theory of sympathy that physiologized the communicative potential of this emotion. The narrative thus literalises competition for sympathy’s power and authenticity within and between individuals.

Emily’s essay appears in Passions, Sympathy and Print Culture: Public Opinion and Emotional Authenticity in Eighteenth-Century Britain ed. Heather Kerr, David Lemmings and Robert Phiddian (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2015).

L0031762 Gasparo Tagliacozzi, De curtorum chirurgia p

L0031762 Gasparo Tagliacozzi, De curtorum chirurgia p Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images TAGLIACOZZI, Gasparo (1547-99) G. Taglicozzi, De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem, libri duo. In quibus ea omnia, quae ad hujus chirurgiae…..declarantur. Venice: G. Bindoni jr., 1597. Icon octava, Plate 18, page 18. Published: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0



This entry was posted in Early Modern, Publications, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s