Poem in praise of Joseph Lister

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Poem in praise of Joseph Lister

My object is a boxed presentation copy of a poem written in Hungarian in Budapest on 29 September 1883 by a Dr. Farkas Laszlo in praise of Joseph Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery. It is bound in a blue shot silk cover and is accompanied by an unbound copy with a handwritten translation into English in the margin. It is dedicated to "Joseph Lister - the great reformer of surgery devoted by one of his zealous followers" and underlines the hugely beneficial impact that Lister's work has had on the human race. My late father found this object in the secret drawer of an antique bureau he bought at auction in the 1950's and I have often thought, given the trouble and expense Dr. Laszlo went to in order to have his eulogy beautifully bound and boxed and to provide a handwritten attempt at translation, that, firstly, Lister's work must have had an immense impact on the medical profession of that era and, secondly, Laszlo must have presented or sent this copy of his poem to Lister. Perhaps the bureau it was found in had originally belonged to Lister or one of his descendants. It does seem the most likely explanation. When I handle this object I feel I am really touching history.

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29 September 1883


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