Cornhill Magazine,  4 (1861), 569–81.

The First Principles of Physiognomy  [2/2]

[Eneas S Dallas]


Essay, Rejoinder, Serial

Relevant illustrations:

wdct. [2]


Physiognomy, Photography, Collecting, Comparative Anatomy, Phrenology, Error, Boundary Formation

Publications cited:

Redfield 1856

    Answers criticism of the previous article on physiognomy by stating that not even the most skilfully executed painting can compete with the accuracy of representation offered by photographs and 'make the physiognomist feel that that he is on sure ground'. Now that 'everybody is making a collection' of photographic portraits it can be hoped 'that something will one day come of these numerous collections' (571) that will help advance physiognomy 'beyond the nebulous science of a Lavater' (570). Contends that 'What Professor Owen can make out of the single bone of an unknown animal is now an old story', and 'His power of constructing the entire animal depends upon a law in comparative anatomy, to which the first principle of physiognomy is the counterpart'. For if 'animal forms generally are homogeneous, so that, given but one tooth, we can describe every bone of the beast to the last joint of the tail, is there any difficulty in going further and declaring that the human form is homogeneous in all its parts?'. (572) This law of the unity of character of the whole human form opposes the 'phrenological method of patchwork' (581), in which the 'face is divided into little freeholds' (573). Moreover, the 'whole fabric of phrenology arose out of a mistake' caused by Franz J Gall's complete ignorance of the changes which occur in the human countenance between childhood and adulthood (576).

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