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Title: Making anatomical knowledge about disease in late Georgian Britain, from dissection table to the printed book and beyond : Matthew Baillie's 'Morbid Anatomy' and its accompanying engravings
Author: Bellis, Richard Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 2603
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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The thesis examines the practice of morbid anatomy as it was articulated and developed in late Georgian Britain. This practice, I argue, was a particular way of investigating disease that was specifically anatomical, in contrast to much other work on disease in this period. It originated in William Hunter’s anatomy school at Great Windmill Street, and was developed partly by Hunter himself but especially through the work and publications of Matthew Baillie. At the school, Baillie learnt anatomy in the Hunterian manner, and applied these lessons to the study of disease. His major publications Morbid Anatomy (1793) and A Series of Engravings (1799–1803) clarified and promoted this practice to a wider public in text and image, and were widely circulated. In the nineteenth century, morbid anatomy came to be central to British approaches in the study of disease, distinct from the historiographically much better-known, concurrent developments in Paris. By focusing on morbid anatomy, I argue that Paris’s “birth of the clinic” was part of a wider story which had an important, and distinctive, British component. My interpretation of Baillie’s texts and activities incorporates approaches from the history of medicine, art history, and book history, thereby treating all of the various knowledge-making practices involved as vital to the development of morbid anatomy. Processes of dissection and preservation were designed to gain sensory knowledge of the diseased cadaver, and to keep that knowledge in the form of preparations; features of anatomy books were employed to present disease as anatomical; skilled artisans worked to enhance the epistemic content of Baillie’s morbid anatomy illustrations; and after criticism, Baillie modified his work to mollify his critics whilst restating the essentially anatomical nature of his work. Baillie’s work thus spanned various medical, publishing, and artistic concerns, and I explore morbid anatomy in the same way.
Supervisor: Wilson, Adrian ; Topham, Jonathan ; Checketts, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available