|Luigi's wife Lucia Galvani (1743-1788/90), the possibly discoverer of electrically-induced dissected animal parts movement.|
“Their death-knell rang when Lucia Galvani told her husband Luigi that the frogs’ legs prepared for the meal seemed alive on the copper wire.”
“The celebrated frog was dismembered, not for culinary but for scientific purposes, and was awaiting Galvani's return in a part of his laboratory where an electrical machine was at work. Lucia Galvani, who was looking on, was startled by observing that whenever the machine gave out a spark the limbs of the frogs were convulsed, and struggled as if still parts of a living body. She called her husband, who mistook in part the nature of this singular phenomenon.”
“Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of it ever being discovered and communicated. They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion. Not thus, after all, would life be given. Perhaps a corpse would be reanimated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.”
|A satirical 1836 cartoon showing American politician and Washington Globe editor Francis Blair (1791-1876) (Ѻ) rising from the dead via Galvani’s animal electricity (current) made by Volta’s pile (battery). |
“Jacksonian editor Francis Preston Blair rises from his coffin, revived by a primitive galvanic battery, as two demons look on. A man on the right throws up his hands as he is drawn toward Blair, saying: Had I not been born insensible to fear, now should I be most horribly afraid. Hence! horrible shadow! unreal mockery. Hence! And yet it stays: can it be real. How it grows! How malignity and venom are "blended in cadaverous union" in its countenance! It must surely be a "galvanized corpse." But what do I feel? The thing begins to draw me . . . I can't withstand it. I shall hug it! . . .
First demon: "There! We've lost him, after all! See! they are bringing him to life again!"
Second demon (holding a copy of Blair's newspaper, the "Globe)": Lose him! ha ha! . . . Rest you easy on that score. But can't you see that it's all for our gain that he should be galvanized into activity again? Where have we his equal on earth? especially since dear Amos [Kendall], poor fellow, has got his hands so full, at the Post Office, that he can't write for us as he used to. Show me another man that can lie like him. They talk of Croswell [influential editor of the "Albany Argus" and Van Buren ally Edwin Croswell] but Harry is nothing to him. I doubt if I can beat him myself. Lose him! a good joke that! Weitenkampf tentatively identifies the man at right as Amos Kendall, but the likeness differs considerably from that found in other caricatures of Kendall.”