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Murdering to dissect : graverobbing, Frankenstein, and the anatomy literature / Tim Marshall.


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Marshall, Tim, 1951-
Publication date:
Manchester ; New York : Manchester University Press ; New York : Distributed in USA and Canada by St. Martin's Press, c1995.
  • Book
  • 354 p.
Includes bibliographical references.
  • Introduction - murdering to dissect: the Edinburgh scandal, 1828-9-- Galvanism-- Utopia and reality-- "Frankenstein" and the 1832 Anatomy Act. Part 1 "Frankenstein" - the 1832 context: the dead body business - Bentham's auto-icon, Richardson's argument in "Death, Dissection and the Destitute", Walter Scott in Edinburgh 1829, the surgeon as murderer - "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts", the contented executioner in "Barnaby Rudge"-- Multi-accentuation in "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts" and "Frankenstein" - the social sign, the note of the editor on "On Murder", the politics of anatomy - the voices in Frankenstein 1831. Part 2 The law made flesh: the instruments of law - intextuation, public and comparative anatomy, trading, the surgeon as artist - John Hunter and Mrs Van Butchell, aesthetics and murder-- the death command, anatomy and the law 1750-1850 - the gibbet, "Frankenstein" - the arche-command, claiming, 1832 - the domestication of command, Dickens' executioner, "Barnaby Rudge" and "Frankenstein" - the string of command. Part 3 The 18th century: the medical gaze and popular culture - Hogarth's "The Reward of Cruelty", "Unhallowed wretches", duplication, the gallows wedding in "Frankenstein", the watching ritual, "I will be with you on your wedding night"-- paternalism and poverty - the 1780s and 1790s - Blake's "Accidental", Speenhamland and the market system, Crabe's crowd, "Frankenstein" and pauper lunacy. Part 4 The early 19th century: "Frankenstein" and the resurrectionist culture 1795-1825 - Southey's "The Surgeon's Warning", Godwin's "Essay on Sepulchres, the hulks, Jooanna Southcott's dissection 1814, anto and pro dissection - the pamphlet literature of the 1820s, utilitarianism - morality and secrecy, pain and grief in "Frankenstein"-- after Burke and Hare - "Frankenstein in 1831 - Edinburgh, politicized bodies, bourgeois culture, the political allegory, from crowd to social class, microscopic vision, clerval, the surgeon's alibi, the plague, "A monster to look at", the graveyard, laughter, the hare, the ship-of-state in "Frankenstein"-- Frankenstein's mask - England 1831-2 - the mask, "the burnings, the alarms", the midnight figure-- conclusion - two nations, two funerals - "the punishment of the poor men".
  • (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Publisher's Summary:
When "Frankenstein" appeared in 1818 it was well known that the medical profession lent silent support to the grave-robbing gangs who regulary sold the surgeons newly-buried bodies for dissection. This "resurection trade" led to the sensational Burke and Hare case, which revealed that the bodies of murder victims had been pased to the Edinburgh surgeon Dr Robert Knox with his connivance. This work demonstrates that the third edition of "Frankenstein", appearing in 1831, acquires a remarkable range of new meanings from these developments. Marshall's particular historical focus is the Anatomy Act of 1832, which ended the grave-robbin trade by permitting the use of unclaimed pauper bodies for dissection. He argues that "Frankenstein" and the Anatomy Act can be seen as twins, one in the world of the imagination, the other in the realms of legilation. "Frankenstein" and a range of affiliated literature is read alongside accounts of medical, legal and political/social history. Drawing on work by Ruth Richardson, Elias Canetti and Karl Polyani, Marshall assembles the early-19th century's fictional commentary on the changing and troubled status of the medical profession.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)

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