Digging Up the Dead: Uncovering the Life and Times of an Extraordinary Surgeon (Paperback)Druin Burch (author)
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A tearaway young man from Norfolk, Astley Cooper (1768-1841) became the world's richest and most famous surgeon. Admired from afar by the Brontes and up close by his student Keats, his success was born of an appetite for bloody revolutions.
He set up an international network of bodysnatchers, won the Royal Society's highest prize and boasted to Parliament that there was no one whose body he could not steal. Experimenting on his neighbours' corpses and the living bodies of their stolen pets, his discoveries were as great as his infamy.
Caught up in the French Revolution, and in attempts to bring radical democracy to Britain, Cooper nevertheless rose to become surgeon to royals from the Prince Regent to Queen Victoria. Setting the past against his own reactions to autopsies and operations, hospitals and poetry, Burch's Digging Up the Dead is a riveting account of a world of gothic horror as well as fertile idealism.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 213 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 19 mm
A physician himself, Burch brings a special insight into episodes whose significance would doubtless be lost or bungled in the hands of another writer... His detailed analyses of early nineteenth-century medical procedures for treating complicated conditions...are masterful, deft and humane * Times Literary Supplement *
Vivid account of 18th-century surgeon Astley Cooper's life... Burch, also a doctor, mixes his narrative with recollections from his own practice, which serve to enhance this lively biography...All in all a jolly good read * BBC History Magazine *
An ambitious and convincing attempt to bring back to life the man who was responsible for so many less respectable acts of resurrection * New Statesman *
[An] evocative biography... Burch (clearly smitten) dares the reader to empathise with "this vain, egotistical, nepotistic and rather wonderful" man, with considerable success * The Lancet *
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