The Courtiers' Anatomists
Animals and Humans in Louis XIV's Paris
University of Chicago Press 2015
New Books in French StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ScienceNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books Network November 4, 2015 Carla Nappi
Anita Guerrini‘s wonderful new book explores Paris as a site of anatomy, dissection, and science during the reign of Louis XIV between 1643-1715. The journey begins with readers accompanying a dead body to sites of dissection across the city, after which we are introduced to four anatomists – charter members of the Paris Academy of Sciences – who will act as focal points for the rest of the story.The Courtiers’ Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Paris (University of Chicago Press, 2015) opens up Parisian bodies – human and animal, dead and alive – to argue that dissection played a major role in the development of experimental methods in seventeenth century science. In Guerrini’s hands, the history of science and medicine in early modern Paris was simultaneously a history of fairy tales and opera, dogs and chameleons, artists and knife-makers, labyrinth-making and oratory. It is a fascinating book that is a must-read for historians of anatomy and of early modern science and medicine, and will be accessible and gripping for readers well beyond those fields.