Death, Dissection and the Destitute

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University of Chicago Press, 2000 - Medical - 453 pages
3 Reviews
In the early nineteenth century, body snatching was rife because the only corpses available for medical study were those of hanged murderers. With the Anatomy Act of 1832, however, the bodies of those who died destitute in workhouses were appropriated for dissection. At a time when such a procedure was regarded with fear and revulsion, the Anatomy Act effectively rendered dissection a punishment for poverty. Providing both historical and contemporary insights, Death, Dissection, and the Destitute opens rich new prospects in history and history of science. The new afterword draws important parallels between social and medical history and contemporary concerns regarding organs for transplant and human tissue for research.
 

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User Review  - Judith.Flanders - LibraryThing

In 1817, Mary Shelley first thought of the story that would become “Frankenstein,” in which the eponymous doctor uses corpses to reanimate a dead man. And even as she wrote this classic, resurrection ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Coobeastie - LibraryThing

A wonderful book that thoroughly takes apart a mass of assumptions about dissection, body snatching and the anatomy acts. It also helped me understand the roots of some things that are common in the older members my family, such as the obsession with having enough money for your funeral. Read full review

Contents

The Corpse and Popular Culture
3
The Corpse as an Anatomical Object
30
The Corpse as a Commodity
52
THE ACT
73
The Sanctity of the Grave Asserted
75
Foregone Conclusions
100
Trading Assassins
131
Alternative Necrology
159
The Act is Uninjurious if Unknown
219
The Bureaucrats Bad Dream
239
The Unpardonable Offence
261
Appendices
285
References
294
Bibliography
378
Afterword
409
Index
435

Bringing Science to the Poor Mans Door
193
THE AFTERMATH
217

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About the author (2000)

Ruth Richardson is a historian living in London.

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