Changing noses, changing fortunes
in Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture
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The conclusion uses two of the most famously disfigured noses in British literature to cohere strands of analysis pursued throughout the book. In both Henry Fielding’s Amelia and Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, the eponymous character’s nose is crushed in an accident. In Amelia, Fielding was attempting to create an unimpeachable heroine whose forbearance is testimony to her good character. The ridicule with which critics greeted Amelia’s injury, including tying it to Taliacotian rhinoplasty, attests to the continued significance of the damaged nose. Sterne, meanwhile, openly ridiculed the stigmatisation of nasal injuries by casting this as naive and ostensibly outdated. Though he mentions Tagliacozzi, it is only briefly, and this and further evidence from his library suggests that he was not particularly familiar with De curtorum chirurgia. Physician John Ferriar’s essay on the nose in Sterne’s book is the most fully informed about Tagliacozzi’s procedure and its historiography. Ferriar’s essay, alongside Fielding’s and Sterne’s novels, serves to elucidate how the reception of Tagliacozzi, and wider themes attached to autograft and allograft rhinoplasty, persisted, but also shifted to allow for the successful revival of rhinoplasty at the end of the eighteenth century.


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