birth, dissection, midwives, museums and collections, womb

The skull inside the doll…

Webster was much possessed by death And saw the skull beneath the skin... (T.S. Eliot, Whispers of Immortality) I was very excited when the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (@RCPEHeritage) tweeted pictures today illustrating that they have been ‘X-raying two of our circa 18thc midwifery manikins (also known as ‘phantoms’) – to discover that… Continue reading The skull inside the doll…

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Bad History, birth, dissection, doctors

The internet for historians?

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter as a way of asking academic questions and being pointed to research I didn't know existed, last week I was able to read Tim Hitchcock's superb 2013 article "Confronting the digital: or how academic history writing lost the plot". This is the first piece I've read which addresses in detail,… Continue reading The internet for historians?

dissection, doctors, sex, womb

Imaginary body parts

    I'm fascinated by imaginary body parts: things which people used to believe existed, but which we no longer accept. I've recently read Naomi Alderman's novel The Power, which is based on the notion of a new part, the 'skein', developing in women and allowing them to zap men. Back in 2012, the Queen’s… Continue reading Imaginary body parts

death, dissection, Galen, Hippocrates, museums and collections

Theatres of Anatomy

Every other year, I lead a tour group which visits two historic anatomy theatres: the oldest permanent structure, the Padua anatomy theatre of 1594, and the 1638-39 one in Bologna. Before 1594, anatomy theatres were temporary structures, in some cases erected at the expense of the professor performing the dissection. On the tour, we usually… Continue reading Theatres of Anatomy