Mini-project three: Phrenology in scientific and popular culture

6 07 2010

phrenology |freˈnäləjē| [noun]
the detailed study of the shape and size of the cranium as a supposed indication of character and mental abilities.

(New Oxford American Dictionary)

3 Snapshots of Phrenology in 19th century Britain.

1) circa 1870 —  Leaflet for Prof. Thomas Moores, a Practical Phrenologist


I know of few things more disappointing to a person than missing the calling which they are Physically and Mentally adapted for: in every way calculated to succeed and make their way, sometimes to fame and always to success…Yet [writers]…on the choice of callings, leave their anxious reader in a fix as to what means should be employed to find that one important calling.  Phrenology is the only sure guide you can have to determine for you what choice you ought to make.”

2) Year unknown — Chart from ‘The Phrenological Journal’ (“Know Thyself”), print from Dr. E. Clark.

3) 1808 — Franz Joseph Gall leading a discussion on phrenology with five colleagues, among his extensive collection of skulls and model heads. Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson.

(source of all images:

BONUS) Circa 2000 The Brain of Homer Simpson




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