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GEORGE BUSK (1807—1886)

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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 874 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GEORGE BUSK (1807—1886), British surgeon, zoologist and palaeontologist, son of Robert Busk, merchant of St Petersburg, was born in that city on the 12th of August 1807. He studied surgery in London, at both St Thomas's and St Bartholomew's hospitals, and was an excellent operator. He was appointed assistant-surgeon to the Greenwich hospital in 1832, and served as naval surgeon first in the Grampus, and afterwards for many years in the Dreadnought; during this period he made important observations on cholera and on scurvy. In 1855 he retired from service and settled in London, where he devoted himself mainly to the study of zoology and palaeontology. As early as 1842 he had assisted in editing the Microscopical Journal; and later he edited the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science (1853—1868) and the Natural History Review (1861—1865). From 1856 to 1859 he was Hunterian professor of comparative anatomy and physiology in the Royal College of Surgeons, and he became president of the college in 1871. He was elected F.R.S. in 185o, and was an active member of the Linnean, Geological and other societies, and president of the Anthropological Institute (1873—1874); he received the Royal Society's Royal medal and the Geological Society's Wollaston and Lyell medals. Early in life he became the leading authority on the Polyzoa; and later the vertebrate remains from caverns and river-deposits occupied his attention. He was a patient and cautious investigator, full of knowledge, and unaffectedly simple in character. He died in London on the loth of August 1886. BUSKEN-HUET, CONRAD (1826—1886), Dutch literary critic, was born at the Hague on the 28th of December 1826. He was trained for the Church, and, after studying at Geneva and Lausanne, was appointed pastor of the Walloon chapel in Haarlem in 1851. In 1863 conscientious scruples obliged him to resign his charge, and Busken-Huet, after attempting journalism, went out to Java in 1868 as the editor of a newspaper. Before this time, however, he had begun his career as a polemical man of letters, although it was not until 1872 that he was made famous by the first series of his Literary Fantasies, a title under which he gradually gathered in successive volumes all that was most durable in his work as a critic. His one novel, Lidewijde, BUSS was written under strong French influences. Returning from the East Indies, Busken-Huet settled for the remainder of his life in Paris, where he died in April 1886. For the last quarter of a century he had been the acknowledged dictator in all questions of Dutch literary taste. Perfectly honest, desirous to be sympathetic, widely read, and devoid of all sectarian obstinacy, Busken-Huet introduced into Holland the light and air of Europe. He made it his business to break down the narrow prejudices and the still narrower self-satisfaction of his countrymen, without endangering his influence by a mere effusion of paradox. He was a brilliant writer, who would have been admired in any language, but whose appearance in a literature so stiff and dead as that of Holland in the 'fifties was dazzling enough to produce a sort of awe and stupefaction. The posthumous correspondence of Busken-Huet has been published, and adds to our impression of the vitality and versatility of his mind. (E. G.)
End of Article: GEORGE BUSK (1807—1886)
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