"A Regiment of Skeletons and an Army of Bottles": Reading the anatomy museum in Nineteenth-Century scientific and popular culture

Location
Law Building - Room 111
Category
Arts and Law, Research
Dates
Tuesday 31st January 2017 (16:00-18:00)
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  • Long Nineteenth Century research seminar

Speaker: Verity Burke (Reading and Birmingham)

Venue: Law Building, Room 111

Abstract

Closely associated with and used as a demonstration of the professionalization of medicine, nineteenth-century anatomical museums and the bodies they displayed were embroiled in controversies from body-snatching to quackery, motivating a need to differentiate the bodies on show in museums from those in freak shows and dubious commercial enterprises. This paper intends to read the catalogues, guidebooks and specimen representations of anatomy museums alongside more popular representations (such as those in Charles Dickens's magazine Household Words and Wilkie Collins's novel The Law and the Lady) to consider how anatomical intermediality worked to legitimize the museum project.