Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Nosing Around

A look at a pseudoscience that hinged on the shnozz

Print Email
From left to right: the Roman, the Greek, the Jewish, the Snub, and the Celestial noses. (From Nasology: or hints towards a classification of noses by Eden Warwick (Rich. Bentley, 1848))

Among the pseudo-sciences that emerged over the centuries, phrenology was one of the most successful, with supporters including Charlotte and Anne Brontë, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allen Poe. Developed in 1796 by a German physician named Franz Joseph Gall, phrenology maintained that there are 27 sections of the cranium whose shapes align with different personality traits. By running their fingertips over the bumps on a patient’s head, phrenologists could determine whether a person would be prideful, vain, poetic, wise, or comical, among other attributes.

In 1848, a new science emerged that challenged phrenology. It was nasology, set forth in a text of the same name by Eden Warwick, which held that the nose was the seat of an individual’s essence and that his or her character could be determined by the size and shape of their nose, not by the bumps on their skull.

Print Email
Jeff Carpenter says:

then there’s the chin structure—prominent, weak, box-shaped, lantern-jawed, etc;
looking at the silhouettes, I have the Roman nose and the Jewish jaw—is there a combo-theory as well? Assimilationist?

:?) notice the smiley’s nose—

Shoshana RK says:

I don’t actually have any of these, far as I can tell. Also, what was she snorting?

grant says:

i was born with the roman nose. i looked just like julius ceasar but i thought he was kinda ugly and his chin should have been stronger. my ex wife said the same. never thought of it as something good. have reached an age now that i just don’t much. glad to have a nose and a chin. damn teeth keep falling our. sometimes i think humankind has peaked and about ready to rush over a cliff into the sea, like the lemmings.

cannot think of one damn thing to feel proud of. they are all just a bunch of knot heads.

Phillip Cohen says:

Obviously I have a Roman nose.
It is roaming all over my face.

Thank you!!!! 1000 times!!!

Hi! I found your blog on AOL.Its really comprehensive and it helped me a lot.

Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

obviously like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll surely come back again.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Nosing Around

A look at a pseudoscience that hinged on the shnozz

More on Tablet:

Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?

By Paul Berman — Explaining Sayyid Qutb, Bin Laden, Djamel Beghal, Chérif Kouachi, Amedy Coulibaly, Hayat Boumeddienne, and those yet to come