The Anatomist Anatomis'd: An Experimental Discipline in Enlightenment Europe, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Anatomist Anatomis'd

An Experimental Discipline in Enlightenment Europe, 1st Edition

By Andrew Cunningham


468 pages

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Paperback: 9781138246423
pub: 2016-09-09
Hardback: 9780754663386
pub: 2010-05-28
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pub: 2016-12-05
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The eighteenth-century practitioners of anatomy saw their own period as 'the perfection of anatomy'. This book looks at the investigation of anatomy in the 'long' eighteenth century in disciplinary terms. This means looking in a novel way not only at the practical aspects of anatomizing but also at questions of how one became an anatomist, where and how the discipline was practised, what the point was of its practice, what counted as sub-disciplines of anatomy, and the nature of arguments over anatomical facts and priority of discovery. In particular pathology, generation and birth, and comparative anatomy are shown to have been linked together as sub-disciplines of anatomy. At first sight anatomy seems the most long-lived and stable of medical disciplines, from Galen and Vesalius to the present. But Cunningham argues that anatomy was, like so many other areas of knowledge, changed irrevocably around the end of the eighteenth century, with the creation of new disciplines, new forms of knowledge and new ways of investigation. The 'long' eighteenth century, therefore, was not only the highpoint of anatomy but also the endpoint of old anatomy.


'Andrew Cunningham's The Anatomist Anatomis'd is a landmark in the history of medicine… informative, entertaining, and essential reading for both scholars and students. Sixteenth Century Journal 'The Anatomist Anatomis’d is a rich and varied work that succeeds in delineating and exploring the various aspects of the discipline of anatomy during the long eighteenth century. The numerous examples of specific people and activities alongside a large selection of images bring this intellectual endeavour to life and make it thoroughly absorbing.' European History Quarterly

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: the anatomist anatomis'd; 'This awful subject'; 'Merit is sure of its reward': careers and courses; Experimental anatomy and its sub-disciplines; Human bodies: getting, keeping, picturing, publishing, arguing; Animal bodies and comparative anatomy; The end of old anatomy; Bibliographies; Index.

About the Author

Andrew Cunningham is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, UK. He also wrote and presented the BBC Radio 4 series The Making of Modern Medicine.

About the Series

The History of Medicine in Context

An interest in medicine is one of the constants that re-occurs throughout history. From the earliest times, man has sought ways to combat the myriad of diseases and ailments that afflict the human body, resulting in a number of evolving and often competing philosophies and practices whose repercussions spread far beyond the strictly medical sphere.

For more than a decade The History of Medicine in Context series has provided a unique platform for the publication of research pertaining to the study of medicine from broad social, cultural, political, religious and intellectual perspectives. Offering cutting-edge scholarship on a range of medical subjects that cross chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, the series consistently challenges received views about medical history and shows how medicine has had a much more pronounced effect on western society than is often acknowledged. As medical knowledge progresses, throwing up new challenges and moral dilemmas, The History of Medicine in Context series offers the opportunity to evaluate the shifting role and practice of medicine from the long perspective, not only providing a better understanding of the past, but often an intriguing perspective on the present.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General