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On FlinchingTheatricality and Scientific Looking from Darwin to Shell Shock$
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Tiffany Watt Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198700937

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198700937.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Henry Head’s Wince

Henry Head’s Wince

(p.125) 3 Henry Head’s Wince
On Flinching

Tiffany Watt Smith

Oxford University Press

Chapter Three investigates the neurologist Henry Head’s flinches and winces in his experiment with W. H. Rivers, in which Head severed the radial nerve of his left arm and charted the slow and painful return of sensation (1903–7). Head believed entering a meditative state gave him unmediated access to his sensations, however, stabs of pain or interruptions caused him to wake with a start from his reverie, suddenly self-conscious that he was being observed and observing himself. This chapter compares Head’s winces to those of actresses and spectators in the avant-garde theatre of the early 1900s who were startled by the encroachments of other people in the auditorium. Extending the book’s central themes, the chapter argues that the sociality and emotionality of theatre audiences remained part of scientific life, even though at this time in both theatre and psychological experimenters the privacy of experience was being emphasized.

Keywords:   Henry Head, W. H. R. Rivers, Eleanora Duse, A. B. Walkley, nerve regeneration, introspection, attention, reverie, protopathic, sensations, pain, reverie

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