Thesis ID: CBB656032010

(In)Stability and (Re)Creation in the English Print Reception of Vesalian Anatomical Illustrations: A Material-Hermeneutical and Text Analytic Study in Transnational Early Modern Bibliography (2022)


Boeckeler, Erika (Advisor)
Murel, Jacob (Author)

Boeckeler, Erika
Northeastern University
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 377

This dissertation examines the English reader and print reception of Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabric in libri septem (1543, 1555) through a combination of analog and digital bibliographical methodologies in order to argue against the notion of a Vesalian Revolution in the history of early modern anatomy. Although Vesalius’ seminal treatise has experienced no dearth of modern scholarly attention, past critics have largely focused on the book’s historical medical context or its internal interaction between text and image, largely neglecting, until recently, to address how Vesalius’ book and its included prints may have been received and handled by readers. The present project aims to fill this gap, building on recent bibliographical scholarship of early modern anatomy prints, by exploring the ways in which Vesalius’ anatomical prints were utilized and appropriated in ways contrary to authorial intentions and prescriptions for use. Although Vesalius presents the Fabrica’s illustrations as supplements to aid in understanding anatomy, intended to be used alongside and secondary to corporeal dissection, I argue that early modern English medical practitioners and printers respectively used and reproduced these prints contrary to Vesalius’ pedagogical philosophy. Moreover, I show how, while anatomy was rhetorically associated with oral and text-based learning throughout early modern English medical print, it was in early modern English drama that anatomy and dissection was associated with the piece-by-piece opening of the body. In this way, this dissertation seeks to dismantle the notion of a Vesalian Revolution by examining the Fabrica’s bibliographical reception, further demonstrating how textual reception is a localized, multifaceted, and ongoing process.

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Authors & Contributors
Lanska, Douglas J.
Nutton, Vivian
Carlino, Andrea
Fahrer, Marius
Ginn, Sheryl R.
Klestinec, Cynthia
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
ANZ Journal of Surgery
Histoire des Sciences Médicales
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Medical History
Brepols Publishers
Pickering & Chatto
Silvana Editoriale
Human anatomy
Scientific illustration
Human body
Visual representation; visual communication
Vesalius, Andreas
Albinus, Bernard Siegfried
Dulaurens, André
Eustachio, Bartolomeo
Spenser, Edmund
Time Periods
16th century
Early modern
17th century
18th century
15th century
Florence (Italy)

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