Samuel Johnson once praised The Anatomy of Melancholy as ‘the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise’.
By his own admission, Johnson had ‘inherited a vile melancholy’, but it seems that sheer delight much more than a desire for antiquated medical advice drove him in the early mornings to reach for Robert Burton's three-part tome.
In our own time, admirers of the Anatomy have included writers like
An anatomy of disillusionment
Why illusions and disillusions?
The word that has been perhaps most often employed to
express the effects of the changes brought about by the
collapse of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 revolutions across
Central and Eastern Europe is disillusionment. People have
generally used it as a way to describe a certain state of
being—a sense of hopelessness—that had significant effects
on both the physical and psychological ability of individuals
to tackle the changes at hand. Disillusionment was
mentioned in a number of different contexts
The anatomy of an insurgency
The world is nothing more than a market, an immense fairground. (Jules Verne, Paris
in the Twentieth Century)
Making of an insurgent
Walter Wriston was nothing like a typical 1940s banker. In that decade, bankers
were easy-going, faithfully following the ‘3–6–3 rule’: paying 3 per cent interest on deposits, lending money at 6 per cent, and teeing off at the golf course by
3 p.m. By contrast, Wriston was never going to settle for a comfortable, albeit
dull, career. His natural inclination was to overturn the existing order, and his
The anatomy of aural suspense in
Rope and Vertigo
vividly remember seeing Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) for the first time as a graduate student in Austin, Texas, in the 1990s. I was hypnotised in the darkened
theatre as I listened to Bernard Herrmann’s swirling arpeggios and watched Saul
Bass’s spiralling visuals during the opening credits. Something –or someone –
took a hold of me that afternoon. Since that day, Herrmann’s music, especially
the opening Prelude, has been something akin to a musical dark passenger1 in my
enabled African women to push the cultural boundaries of nursing. An anatomy of their stories of encounters with strangers’ bodies, elderly patients and dead bodies gives us an understanding of the various ways in which African women came to terms with new forms of healing at the same time as providing insight into how they remoulded their culturally specific African nursing practices.
The Africanisation of Rhodesian clinical spaces
To understand the complexities of workplace culture during the period under study, it is necessary to briefly examine the racial
The Gothic, Medical Collections and Victorian Popular Culture
As soon as the corpse became central to medical education, and as a growing number of private medical schools opened throughout Great Britain, involving the rise of the demand for dead bodies, the literary field played a significant part in the popularisation of medical knowledge, offering insights into the debates around medical practice and education. As this paper will show, the literary field dealt with medical practitioners treatment of the corpse through playing upon a Gothic rhetoric, dramatizing the tension between the cutting up, preservation and exhibition of human remains in medical collections and the objectification of the patient on the one hand, and the central part played by anatomy in medical knowledge and the therapeutic applications of dissection, on the other. Through exploring how literary texts capitalizing on the Gothic paraphernalia recorded cultural responses to medical practice in the long nineteenth century, this paper will ultimately underline the role that nineteenth-century literature played, not merely in the dissemination of medical knowledge but also in the public engagement of medicine.
The use of ‘trigger warnings’ has become a popular attack-line for right-wing
critics of liberal academia in the ‘free speech wars’. Trigger warnings are
regarded as a form of self-censorship by academics, who are either bullied
by or pandering to their intolerant ‘snowflake’ students. In 2016 there was
an abortive attempt by right-wing and libertarian commentators to engineer a
trigger warning controversy in British academia. The author of this chapter
was one of two academics targeted in this campaign, which included a series
of hostile articles in forums ranging from the Spectator, Times and Guardian
to Breitbart, Spiked and The Tab. The attacks focused on a brief content
warning included in the handbook for a graduate-level course on the
archaeology of modern warfare. The aim of this chapter is to offer a
dispassionate account of the mechanisms of this manufactured scandal. Based
on a close reading of twelve of the comment pieces about the course, it
examines the subtle art of manufacturing outrage: rhetoric, omission,
misrepresentation and fabrication; links with other ‘free speech war’
issues; and the network of individuals and organisations bridging the US and
UK branches of this movement (e.g. Furedi père et fils).
This collection expands the history of Chinese medicine by bridging the philosophical concerns of epistemology and the history and cultural politics of transregional medical formations. Topics range from the spread of gingko’s popularity from East Asia to the West to the appeal of acupuncture for complementing in-vitro fertilization regimens, from the modernization of Chinese anatomy and forensic science to the evolving perceptions of the clinical efficacy of Chinese medicine. The individual essays cohere around the powerful theoretical-methodological approach, “historical epistemology,” with which scholars in science studies have already challenged the seemingly constant and timeless status of such rudimentary but pivotal dimensions of scientific process as knowledge, reason, argument, objectivity, evidence, fact, and truth. Yet given that landmark studies in historical epistemology rarely navigate outside the intellectual landscape of Western science and medicine, this book broadens our understanding of its application and significance by drawing on and exploring the rich cultures of Chinese medicine. In studying the globalizing role of medical objects, the contested premise of medical authority and legitimacy, and the syncretic transformations of metaphysical and ontological knowledge, contributors illuminate how the breadth of the historical study of Chinese medicine and its practices of knowledge-making in the modern period must be at once philosophical and transnational in scope. This book will appeal to students and scholars working in science studies and medical humanities as well as readers who are interested in the broader problems of translation, material culture, and the global circulation of knowledge.
An adolescent girl is mocked when she takes a bath with her peers, because her genitals look like those of a boy. A couple visits a doctor asking to ‘create more space’ in the woman for intercourse. A doctor finds testicular tissue in a woman with appendicitis, and decides to keep his findings quiet. These are just a few of the three hundred European case histories of people whose sex was doubted during the long nineteenth century that this book draws upon. The book offers a refreshingly new perspective on the relation between physical sex and identity over the long nineteenth century. Rather than taking sex, sexuality and gender identity as a starting point for discussing their mutual relations, it historicizes these very categories. Based on a wealth of previously unused source material, the book asks how sex was doubted in practice—whether by lay people, by hermaphrodites themselves, or by physicians; how this doubt was dealt with; what tacit logics directed the practices by which a person was assigned a sex, and how these logics changed over time. The book highlights three different rationales behind practices of doubting and (re)assigning sex: inscription, body and self. Sex as inscription refers to a lifelong inscription of a person in the social body as male or female, marked by the person's appearance. This logic made way for logics in which the truth of inner anatomy and inner self were more significant.
Seeing through the skin
‘If you wish to succeed in drawing, it is essential to study the body even to a
great level of detail’, stated Jean-Joseph Sue the younger in his 1788 Élémens
d’anatomie, à l’usage des peintres, des sculpteurs et des amateurs. Then still
working as assistant to his eponymous father, professor of anatomy at the
Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, Sue stressed the significance of
anatomical study for artists and continued that they should ‘curiously and
observantly eye all the parts of the body, both internal and external, that