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Dissection on Display

by Christine Quigley

Dissection on Display Synopsis

Since Herophilus, the father of anatomy, performed the first public human dissection in the third century B.C.E., audiences have been spellbound by the cutting apart of cadavers. This volume traces the past and present of public dissection, from Herophilus's first cuts to the revival of anatomy as entertainment through spectacles like Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds. From Italian anatomy theaters to American dissecting laboratories, it chronicles the attacks on anatomy in the Middle Ages, the influence of Renaissance anatomist Andreas Vesalius, the procurement of bodies through execution and body snatchers, and the withdrawal of dissectors behind medical school doors in the early 20th century. This history reveals that the anatomical spectacle is not new, but has remained in the gray area between education and entertainment for centuries.

Dissection on Display Press Reviews

this well researched historical account of the phenomena of public dissection traces the gruesome spectacle from Heriophilus to modern day exhibits...a comprehensive chronology...offers insight into the evolution of dissection in the public sphere and all the surprising ways in which it has manifested --Reference & Research Book News; Dissection on Display is an astonishingly interesting and good book--learned, well-written, and filled with quick, not dead, anecdotes. Before reading this book, I had not thought about the distinction between an autopsy and a dissection. This is a fine scholarly book, one that informs and entertains and the combination makes it a rarity. --Samuel Pickering, Professor of English, University of Connecticut; What a book! Since I have a personal interest in the evolution of the autopsy, I know what an enormous effort must have been expended in gathering the often obscure sources. Yet the presentation of them reads more like an action, especially the section on 'bodysnatching'...historically, dissection with the anatomic knowledge gained must precede the era of the autopsy. This is where this book comes in...one can easily see the enormous vacuum the book fills, especially the medieval period...sincerest congratulations for an enormous contribution to the history of dissection. --Art Aufderheide, professor emeritus of pathology, University of Minnesota.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780786444298
Publication date: 5th October 2020
Author: Christine Quigley
Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 224 pages
Categories: Sociology: death & dying,

About Christine Quigley

Christine Quigley is currently on leave from Georgetown University. She lives in Florida and continues to write books and articles, review books for Fortean Times, and adds daily posts to her eclectic blog at Quigley's Cabinet.

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