Digital Gallery Browse
The practical anatomist, or, The student's guide in the dissecting-room, 1856
This guide for medical students performing dissections gives a detailed description of the human anatomy, complete with diagrams. In the 19th century, dissection became an integral part of medical education, as well as a social and political issue. Questions arose about how to meet the growing demand for cadavers and the ethics of dissection. Some suppliers resorted to stealing corpses from graves, prompting the British Parliament to enact laws that regulated the procurement of bodies for educational purposes. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) reflects the focus on dissection during Mary Shelley's time. Victor Frankenstein, an anatomist, visits graveyards, charnel houses, and dissection rooms of hospitals to acquire the parts needed to assemble his creature.
Courtesy National Library of Medicine
Creator:J. M. Allen