The Randy Doctor

March 1, 2012


Belle Epoque was the epicenter of both incurable vanity which Paris had literally strolling down its boulevards and unprecedented scientific revolution felt even beyond the borders of the Old Continent, a time when the bourgeois reinforced the avarice supposedly extinguished after 1789 and Greek values borrowed from the ancients augmented people’s desire of  carnal delights. These dominating images, explicitly depicted in Balzac’s “La Comédie humaine “, Zola’s spicy novels, Lautrec’s posters and Proust’s lengthy memoir,  formed the natural habitat of uncountable human specimens defined by most varied traits and lusty doctor Samuel Pozzi (1846–1918) was one illustrious stereotype who combined the two major preoccupations of the time as womanizer & gynecologist (get what I mean?).

Sarah Bernhardt called him Dr. “God”, others Dr. “Love” (quite obvious why…) and some, for the brief period when Pozzi was young and technically insignificant with the student status, yet  still very alluring to his charm’s victims, “the Siren”.

There are several blogs on him where you can find elaborated biographies, like The Life and Work of Samuel Pozzi (brilliant guide, by the way), so I won’t begin to summarize his story in great detail but concern on anecdotes, facts and comments I myself relished while reading about our doctor, juicy informalities.

Main model for Proust’s clumsy/ socially ambitious/ bourgeois  Mr. Cottard, Pozzi was mediocre in his mentality and political views, scarcely aspirant for dandyism, averagely sharp, moderately cultivated and a horrible joker, as the great writer observed, so thanks God he had plenty of charisma to compensate! Oh, and he practiced gynecology, a branch of medicine which somehow forms a propensity for doing women genitalia in the man, especially the dishy one. But he surprisingly managed not to overly indulge into adultery and only select pedigreed pussies (count that of soprano  Georgette Leblanc, actress Rejane, Georges Bizet’s widow, Sarah Bernhardt, and Emma Sedelmeyer Fischof ) to quench his appetite because, professionally, he was impeccable.

You might come to think half the Paris female population prayed to encounter problems at its reproductive organs just to innocently spread her legs for Dr. Love!

Pozzi had an unsatisfying marriage with heiress of a railroad magnate,Therese Loth-Cazalis, who insisted in bringing her nagging hag of a mother to their marital home, thus awarding him the alluring position of poor frustrated husband women queued to console.

Beneath the serious-guy-dignified-academician facade was cunningly hidden a fountain of lechery and one demanding libido, so often met in remarkable persona (preferably check da Vinci before the Marquis de Sade), relieved by the many flirts French society generously granted.

J.J. Sargent masterly captured and expressed this special trait in Pozzi with the above portrait bursting with eroticism (the vivid red robe) but still haughty and transmitting he’s trust-worthy, capable, qualified, the man you’d like to contact if you were sick or weary (can we add “both from clinical and carnal causes”?). The painting incorporated Pozzi’s essence good enough for a 21st century spectator to perceive least a tint of his personality and alleged posture thanks to Sargent’s compressive sense very precious in artists. Can you sincerely affirm you don’t feel that captivating thing about him here?

His illustrative nicknames aren’t bluffs or mocking samples, you know. Pozzi truly was the randy doctor in our title and a damned experienced surgeon rewarded by most European medical associations and very credited for his innovating work. His affairs almost seem part of Boccaccio’s “Decameron“, misty and succulent, true, yet they’re nonetheless authentic and meticulously reported by historical resources at that.

Even his end appears like borrowed from an epoch novel: on a traditionally considered unlucky day of 13, June,  1918, Pozzi, then minding his own business in the consulting room of the clinic, was shot four times in the stomach by a demented Machu-person whose leg he had had to amputate 2 years before, provoking the man unwanted impotence the doctor couldn’t anyway remedy. While the criminal committed suicide, Pozzi died on the operating table during an emergency laparotomy …

His palpitating heart that had tried such a large spectrum of feelings in the ardent game of love eventually ceased to pump blood in his body which turned gray and perished in its tomb at the Bergerac  Protestant Cemetery.



2 Responses to “The Randy Doctor”

  1. Susan Ozmore Says:

    You’re right about the portrait – yum! LOL I always learn something in a very fun way from your posts. 🙂

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