Read Anatomies: A Cultural History of the Human Body by Hugh Aldersey-Williams Free Online
Book Title: Anatomies: A Cultural History of the Human Body|
The author of the book: Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Edition: W. W. Norton Company
Date of issue: May 19th 2014
ISBN 13: 9780393348842
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 961 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.7
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The human body is the most fraught and fascinating, talked-about and taboo, unique yet universal fact of our lives. It is the inspiration for art, the subject of science, and the source of some of the greatest stories ever told. In Anatomies, acclaimed author of Periodic Tales Hugh Aldersey-Williams brings his entertaining blend of science, history, and culture to bear on this richest of subjects.
In an engaging narrative that ranges from ancient body art to plastic surgery today and from head to toe, Aldersey-Williams explores the corporeal mysteries that make us human: Why are some people left-handed and some blue-eyed? What is the funny bone, anyway? Why do some cultures think of the heart as the seat of our souls and passions, while others place it in the liver?
A journalist with a knack for telling a story, Aldersey-Williams takes part in a drawing class, attends the dissection of a human body, and visits the doctor’s office and the morgue. But Anatomies draws not just on medical science and Aldersey-Williams’s reporting. It draws also on the works of philosophers, writers, and artists from throughout history. Aldersey-Williams delves into our shared cultural heritage—Shakespeare to Frankenstein, Rembrandt to 2001: A Space Odyssey—to reveal how attitudes toward the human body are as varied as human history, as he explains the origins and legacy of tattooing, shrunken heads, bloodletting, fingerprinting, X-rays, and more.
From Adam’s rib to van Gogh’s ear to Einstein’s brain, Anatomies is a treasure trove of surprising facts and stories and a wonderful embodiment of what Aristotle wrote more than two millennia ago: “The human body is more than the sum of its parts.”
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Read information about the authorI was born in London in 1959, the same year C.P. Snow gave his infamous ‘two cultures’ lecture about the apparently eternal divide in Britain between the arts and sciences. Perhaps this is where it all begins. Forced to choose one or the other at school and university, I chose the latter, gaining an MA in natural sciences from Cambridge.
By graduation, I was aware of a latent interest in the arts, particularly in architecture and design, and was seeking ways to satisfy all these urges in something resembling a career. Journalism seemed the obvious answer, and after a string of increasingly disastrous editorial positions on technical magazines, I went freelance in 1986 and was able at last to write about what really interested me in newspapers and magazines in all these fields.
Having an American mother and an English father makes me, as it says on jars of honey, ‘the produce of more than one country’, and has left me with a curiosity about matters of national identity. Living in the United States gave me the opportunity to write my first book, using my semi-detachment from the culture to identify a renaissance in contemporary American design. Its success led to a larger-scale examination of design and national cultures as well as a number other design books and a five-year stint as design critic of the New Statesman.
Now, the science was losing out. Over-compensating perhaps, I wrote an entire book about a single molecule—albeit an exceptionally novel and beautiful one, called buckminsterfullerene. Here at last science and design began to merge. My projects since then have continued to explore science, design, architecture, national identity and other themes in books and exhibitions.
I am a member of the Society of Authors and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I live in Norfolk and London with my wife Moira, son Sam, and two Maine coon cats.
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