Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside (1721 – 1770)

Mark Akenside (1721-1770) was an English physician and poet.

First described the external manifestations of von Recklinghausen disease (NF-1) in 1767 and ‘Contusio cordis‘ (1763)

A respected poet, his most acclaimed work ‘The Pleasures of the Imagination – a poem, in three books‘ was first published in 1744.

  • Book I: defines the powers of imagination and pleasure that can be derived from the perception of beauty;
  • Book II: distinguishes works of imagination from philosophy;
  • Book III: describes the pleasure to be found in the study of man, the sources of ridicule, the operations of the mind, in producing works of imagination, and the influence of imagination on morals.


  • Born 9 November 1721 Newcastle upon Tyne, England
  • Born to a family of English Dissenters (Protestant Christians who separated from the Church of England), he was removed from Newcastle Grammar school and taught in the ways of the ministry.
  • 1739 – Enrolled at University of Edinburgh to study theology, but switched to the study of ‘physic’
  • 1740 – Graduated medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • 1744 – MD, University of Leyden. D.M.I. de Ortu et Incremento Fœtus Humani.
  • 1751 – Licentiate of the College of Physicians
  • 1752 – MD, Cambridge University
  • 1755 – Gulstonian Lecturer; Croonian Lecturer (1756); and Harveian orator (1759)
  • 1759 – Physician to St. Thomas’s hospital
  • 1761 – Physician in ordinary to the Queen
  • Died 23 June 1770

Key Medical Attributions

Medical Eponyms

Major Publications


  • Biography: Mark Akenside. Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of London. Munk’s Roll: Volume II:195.
  • Gilfillan G. The poetical works of Mark Akenside. New York: AMS Press. 1969 [Reprint of the 1845 ed. compiled by Alexander Dyce]
  • Kohl P, Nesbitt AD, Cooper PJ, Lei M. Sudden cardiac death by Commotio cordis: role of mechano-electric feedback. Cardiovasc Res. 2001 May;50(2):280-289. [PMID 11334832]

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the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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