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Du Bellay's Hymne De La Surdite, or the Puzzle of the Third

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Abstract:

French poet Joachim du Bellay's Hymne de la Surdité, a poem composed in 1556, combines celebration of the friendship between two deaf poets (himself and Ronsard), satire on Roman corruption, and up-to-date information on the physiology of the ear and the mechanism of hearing. Du Bellay's description of the ear includes the third ossicle. Ambroise Paré has been considered the source of Du Bellay's medical information, although the poem was written five years before Paré described the bone. The discovery of the third ossicle has been variously attributed to Gian Filippo of Ingrassia, Realdus Columbus, and Bartholomeus Eustachius. An examination of the career and writings of each suggests that Columbus is the likeliest source of Du Bellay's knowledge.

Keywords: Du Bellay, Joachim (Hymne de la Surdité); Ear; France; Physiology; Poets; Scientific Discoveries

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-4658.00152

Publication date: 1994-06-01

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