By Émile Javal
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2010
Online Publication Date:September 2011
Original Publication Year:1905
Subjects: Printing and Publishing History , English Literature: General Interest
Physiologie de la Lecture and de L'Ecriture (1905) was Émile Javal's seventh book. Initially trained as an engineer, Javal turned to medicine and to ophthalmology when he saw his sister suffering from defects of vision. He became a renowned ophthalmologist, developing the Javal-Schiøtz ophthalmometer, treating strabismus, and founding the Sorbonne's ophthalmology lab. Tragically, Javal developed glaucoma and was blind by 1900. His work investigates the 'physiology of reading and writing', undertaking historical, theoretical, and practical approaches to his subject. Javal's work first examines the history behind reading and writing; he discusses epigraphy, writing, typography, stenography, musical notation, and 'ecriture en relief', a writing system for the blind, before turning to theoretical considerations and concluding with practical deductions. Physiologie represents Javal's interest in advancing a writing system for the blind by studying how the eye reads; his was one of the first works to do so.