Journal Article

The merest L<i>ogomachy</i>: The 1868 Norwich discussion of aphasia by Hughlings Jackson and Broca

Marjorie Perlman Lorch

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 131, issue 6, pages 1658-1670
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awn058
The merest Logomachy: The 1868 Norwich discussion of aphasia by Hughlings Jackson and Broca

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This article reconsiders the events that took place at the 1868 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA) in Norwich. Paul Broca and John Hughlings Jackson were invited to speak on the new and controversial subject of aphasia. Over the ensuing decades, there have been repeated references made to a debate between Broca and Jackson. This meeting has been identified as a turning point in favour of Broca's position on the cerebral localization of language. A return to original sources from key witnesses reveals that the opinion of the British practitioners was generally against Broca's views. Close examination of contemporaneous materials suggests that no public debate between Jackson and Broca occurred. However, the public discussion after Broca's presentation records notable concerns over both theoretical issues of localization of function and the status of exceptional clinical cases. A significant stage in the development of current views on the organization of language in the brain is revealed in the accounts of the BA meeting in August 1868 and successive responses to these events in the British press over a period of years.

Keywords: aphasia; brain behaviour and relationships; Broca's area; hemispheric specialization; language processing

Journal Article.  11072 words. 

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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