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Samuel Johnson, English Author
Photograph - Photograph
Samuel Johnson had a multitude of physical and psychological ailments. From the beginning of his life as a hypoxic newborn, he was troubled by numerous illnesses, including neonatal abscess of the buttocks, probable smallpox, and deafness in the left ear (and both ears later in life). The most important of his ailments were scrofula (primary tuberculosis of the cervical lymph nodes AKA "the King's evil", depression, possibly Tourette syndrome, since he experienced involuntary contortions, gesticulations, and oral outbursts, asthma and dropsy (edema). In adulthood, he experienced insomnia, a death phobia, intermittent excesses of alcohol and opiates, obesity, dyspepsia, flatulence, heart failure, gout, and stroke. It is hardly surprising that Johnson was led to comment, In this oil painting by Joshua Reynolds known as "Blinking Sam", Johnson is shown with his intense concentration and the weakness of his eyes.
March 14th, 2013
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