The Nose Knows: Syphilitic Noses in British Art

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Speaker: Dr Noelle Gallagher, Senior Lecturer in 18th Century British Literature, University of Manchester

“For by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs,- - I declare, by that word I mean a Nose, and nothing more, or less.”

No reader of Laurence Sterne’s wildly-popular novel Tristram Shandy (1759-67) could be in doubt that sometimes a nose is not just a nose. In this lecture, Dr Noelle Gallagher explores the weird and wonderful cultural life of deformed noses in eighteenth-century British literature and art. Considering popular engravings and well-known literary works, Gallagher explores how the deformed nose came to function as a powerful symbol for fears about immigration, class instability and even the degeneration of the species.


Medical practitioners who are Fellows or Members of the College will be admitted free of charge.