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Author Leblanc, Richard (Neurosurgeon), author

Title Fearful asymmetry : Bouillaud, Dax, Broca, and the localization of language, Paris 1825-1879 / Richard Leblanc
Published Montreal ; Kingston ; London ; Chicago : McGill-Queen's University Press, 2017
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource
Summary "Paul Broca's discovery that the left frontal lobe of the brain determines our ability to speak is a highpoint of human biology. Broca made this discovery as a young surgeon working not in the great anatomical laboratories of a prestigious university, but at the hospice at BicĂȘtre in the outskirts of Paris, a repository for the criminal, the insane, the indigent and the sick. The Dean of Medicine in Paris, a proponent of phrenology, laid down the groundwork for Broca's discovery, but his path was paved with derision, acrimony, personal attacks and vindictiveness. However, the greatest challenge that Broca faced was the prevailing doctrine that the anatomically symmetrical hemispheres of the brain could not serve different functions, and that therefore speech must reside in both hemispheres. Once this obstacle was surmounted and the dominant role of the left hemisphere in language was accepted, Broca's priority in this discovery was challenged by the unearthing of a privately distributed address given by a country doctor who died before he could publish his findings. It was not until the mid-20th century that left-hemisphere dominance for speech was confirmed at the Montreal Neurological Institute. This recounting of Broca's discovery is based on a new reading and translation of the original records of Broca and his detractors. Like all great scientific discoveries, Broca's was hard won, but he brought forward a fundamental truth of biology, and ultimately of the human condition. Of this struggle nothing remains but the telling."-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Bouillaud, J. (Jean), 1796-1881.
Broca, Paul, 1824-1880.
Dax, Marc, 1770-1837.
Brain -- Localization of functions -- Research -- France -- Paris -- History -- 19th century.
Language and languages -- Physiological aspects -- Research -- France -- Paris -- History -- 19th century.
Language -- history.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0773551654 (electronic bk.)
9780773551657 (electronic bk.)