A Method for Teaching the "Deaf-Mute" to Speak & Surveying the physiological bases of human expressive behaviour


Philocophus: or, The deafe and dumbe mans friend. Exhibiting the philosophicall verity of that subtile art, which may inable one with an observant eie, to heare what any man speaks by the moving of his lips. Upon the same ground, with the advantage of an historicall exemplification, apparently proving, that a man borne deafe and dumbe, may be taught to heare the sound of words with his eie, & thence learne to speake with his tongue. By I.B. sirnamed the Chirosopher

London: for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard, 1648


Bulwer, John (active 1648-1654)

Pathomyotomia or A dissection of the significative muscles of the affections of the minde. Being an essay to a new method of observing the most important movings of the muscles of the head, as they are the neerest and immediate organs of the voluntarie or impetuous motions of the mind. With the proposall of a new nomenclature of the muscles. By J.B. Sirnamed the Chirosopher.

London: printed by W.W. for Humphrey Moseley, and are to sold [sic] at his shop at the Princes Armes in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1649

Two books bound as one. Large duodecimos: I. [38], 191, [1] p., [1] leaf of plates.Collation:π1 (explanation of frontis.), 2π1 (engraved frontis.), A12, b6, B-I12. II. II. [24], 240, [12]p. Collation: A-L12, a6

SOLE EDITIONS. The first work with an engraved frontispiece by William Marshall and a facing "A Reflection of the Sence and minds of the Frontispiece". Contemporary paneled calf, rebacked in the 19thc., gilt spine, wear to boards, marbled endpapers. Both are fine copies with occ. instances of minor soiling. Provenance: With the bookplates ofM[arshall]. C[lifford]. Lefferts (b. 1848), Beverly Chew (1850-1924), and Frederick Spiegelberg (1887-1994).

"Philocophus" was the first English work treating at length the subject of deafness and its accompanying language problems. It was dedicated to two deaf men, the brothers Sir Edward and William Gostwicke, who, Bulwer relates, although proficient in signing, earnestly wanted to learn to speak, accounting their inability to speak their "greatest unhappiness."

Bulwer thought it possible for "deaf mutes: to learn both lip-reading and speech ("by the substitution of one sense for another"), although he favored signs and manual alphabets as a more practical means of communication for them.

"The first part of the book describes the organs of speech and their use in articulation… The chapters followed each other with lucid descriptions of the anatomy of the speech organs and their specific movements for each element of speech sounds… In the second part of the book Bulwer is occupied with a history of deaf and mute people, and an investigation of the various causes for total hearing impairment. [It is in this part of the book that Bulwer spends a good analyzes Sir Kenelm Digby's account of the successful treatment of the younger brother of the constable of Castile, whose name, not provided by Digby, was Don Luis Velasco.]"(Bender, "The Conquest of Deafness", p. 54-56)

"Bulwer concentrated on lip reading in order, as he explained, to enable 'deaf mute' people to communicate with everyone else. This work contains a unique and particularly original mechanistic account of the senses couched in terms of the synaesthetic transfer of vibrations between modalities, hence Bulwer affirmed that a 'deaf mute' man could, quite literally, 'Heare the sound of words with his Eie' (echoing a phrase of Digby's). Bulwer (and Digby) erred however in believing that lip-reading could be taught without prior experience of attempting to speak…

"While it is unknown whether Bulwer directly treated any hearing impaired non-speaking patients, in 'Philocophus' he describes a project to establish an academy for deaf people. His efforts on behalf of the deaf and mute anticipated the better-remembered work by William Holder (whose efforts began in 1660), John Wallis (who presented a deaf mute youth to the Royal Society in 1662 and wrote a letter on the topic to Robert Boyle in 1670), and George Dalgarno, author of 'Didascalocophus, or, The Deafe and Dumb Man's Tutor' (1680). That these never cite Bulwer is curious given that they almost certainly knew of his work…

"The Mechanization of Emotional Expression":

"'Pathomyotomia' is the scarcest of Bulwer's books but in some ways the most ambitious, presenting a systematic head-to-toe survey of the physiological bases of human expressive behaviour and the relationship between sensation, images, and skilled actions. He skirts the philosophical issue of mind–body relations but conveys a picture of the entire body as a signifying system, its expressive motions 'answering in a kind of semblance and representative proportion, to the motions of the mind' (p. 4). Again the notion of mechanism used has distinct features. This work has been the least discussed, despite being Charles Darwin's opening citation in 'Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals' (1872)."(ODNB)

"Pathomyotomia" is "the first substantial English-language work on the muscular basis of emotional expression… The stated goal of the work was to present a new and more intuitive system for naming the muscles of the face, one in which the muscles would be named after the passions they were used to express. The idea clearly foreshadowed the later work of the French anatomist and electrophysiologist Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne, who presented just such a terminology in 1862."(Geen and Tassinary, "The Mechanization of Emotional Expression in John Bulwer's "Pathomyotomia" (1649)", American Journal of Psychology 115(2): 275-99. Feb. 2002)

I. Wellcome II, p. 270; ESTC R3977; Wing B5469. II. Norman 340; Wellcome II, p. 270; Krivatsky 1952; ESTC R8806; Wing B5468