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Skeleton of a boy sitting on the 'D' of 'Dream', from Francesco Bertinatti, Elementi di anatomia fisiologica applicata alle belle arti figurative (Turin, 1837-39).  Artist: Mecco Leone. Lithograph
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The People's Anatomy

Dreaming the Body in Popular Medicine

Although allegory, metaphor, and bizarre juxtapositions were no longer featured in serious scientific texts after 1800, popular writers on medical topics continued to use them. Books and lectures on health attracted large audiences but there was much competition. Phrenologists, dietary reformers, botanical healers, homeopaths, and orthodox health advocates all vied for the public eye and ear. Arresting visual images helped popular writers explain their ideas about the structure and workings of the body.

A praying skeleton. Cropped, from Mary S. Gove, Lectures to ladies on anatomy and physiology (Boston, 1842). Wood engraving.
A black standing figure, shown with brain and nerves in white, spinal nerves in green. Cropped, from Edwin Hartley Pratt, The composite man as comprehended in fourteen anatomical impersonations (2d ed.; Chicago, 1901). Relief halftone. Artist: Frederick Williams.



Dissection Scenes and Fancies
Dreaming Art Anatomy
The People's Anatomy
Next Section: Dreaming the Industrial Body
Reuniting the Divided Self
Visible Human

A praying skeleton. Cropped, from Mary S. Gove, Lectures to ladies on anatomy and physiology (Boston, 1842). Wood engraving.