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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 11, page 243, ca. 1859 [newspaper clipping]

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Identifier: DX03204984

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 11, page 243, ca. 1859 [newspaper clipping]

Description: Newspaper clipping regarding Dr. Edward Dixon, editor of the Scalpel.


Six feet high in his boots, and straight up and down as two yards of pump water, this inflammable, gesticulative type of the revolutionizing professional man, whose face is a grotesque and vivid combination-likeness of Don Quixote and Louis Napoleon,—this eager, lank, inventive-looking high-pressured steam engine, with features of the hatchet pattern—prominent, long-beaked, beetle-browed, keenly grey-eyed, heavily moustached and gouteed with dark and excitable bristles, and with long and very thick brown hair, just beginning to silver and curling round the back of his coat collar, such is our friend and frequent office-visitor, Dr. E. H. Dixon, editor of the Scalpel, chief literary swordsman of reformed medicine, popular lecturer on the art of killing men, women and children, secundem arten, and a very distinguished, very fractious son of Æsculapius—whose many merits and virtues we feel incompetent to extol in proper terms. The Doctor has a most prolific and ludicrous imagination, the features and heart of a born satirist, the keen insight and ruthless moral dissection of a man intended by nature rather to probe and cicatrize mental maladies than to pour balm on the wounds of physical ailments. His conversational powers are inexhaustible to himself, though sometimes—not frequently—very exhaustive to his listeners. Fantastic processions of humanity appear to be forever passing before his intellectual vision; his mind is the white disk of a camera obscura on which all the events and personages of existence pass backward and forward—gravely walking on their heads. Like many other eminent anatomists, he has cut so deep into man’s body and knows the machine of life so well, that his views as to the motive-power have become lost in uncertainty; he is familiar with the functions of every organ, and believes that the harmony, the rich music of our daily breaths, comes from—heaven knows where! As a writer of brilliant and bitter observation, we know few now living who are his peers: every jest is full of matter, and every laughable illustration is the feather guiding correctly some poignant arrow. A delightful and instructive companion when in the mood—a sort of crystallized essence, flashing at all points with the philosophy and wit of the French encyclopedists—there are few men in our city of characters more sharply and decisively defined than the subject of this sketch. Such a man of course must have many more enemies than friends in professional ranks. He is a doctorial porcupine, bristling at every point and often throwing sharp quills against those who attempt to handle him. In this aspect, however, the law of compensation applies, and he repels and attracts with equal force. The few who admire him, admire him intensely, and those who dislike him are equally ardent on the other side. For ourselves, looking at the genial and sunny side of his character, we wish to be classed in the catalogue of his friends, and doubt not that for this first rate notice he will hereafter feel pleasure in performing any serious operation on us, which the mischances of life may render necessary. We have passed many humorous and profitable hours in his society; and for these, humbly acknowledge our indebtedness to him by a low bow as he passes. His misfortune is that finding caustic of great service in professional life, he has become a convert to the belief that the exhibition of this article is the grand panacea and remedy for all social diseases. A great student of human nature and fond of striking out the characteristics of those with whom he converses, it is never easy to determine whether he is serious or in a mood of ridicule—anxious to obtain your good opinion, or simply to chuckle in his sleeve at the heat which he may. . . .

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: ca. 1859

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper


Subjects: Physicians


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