Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine

Nineteenth Century Popular Fiction, Medicine and Anatomy

The Victorian Penny Blood and the 1832 Anatomy Act

Authors: Gasperini, Anna

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  • Analyses four narratives within the context of the 1832 Anatomy Act and its aftermath
  • Explores penny bloods’ elaboration of discourses about anatomy-related anxieties, such as cannibalism, medical voyeurism, and resurrectionism
  • Develops an interconnected discussion about the inclusion in the fictional narratives of real spaces and events relating to the Anatomy Act's history
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eBook $64.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-10916-5
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-10915-8
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book investigates the relationship between the fascinating and misunderstood penny blood, early Victorian popular fiction for the working class, and Victorian anatomy. In 1832, the controversial Anatomy Act sanctioned the use of the body of the pauper for teaching dissection to medical students, deeply affecting the Victorian poor. The ensuing decade, such famous penny bloods as Manuscripts from the Diary of a Physician, Varney the Vampyre, Sweeney Todd, and The Mysteries of London addressed issues of medical ethics, social power, and bodily agency. Challenging traditional views of penny bloods as a lowlier, un-readable genre, this book rereads these four narratives in the light of the 1832 Anatomy Act, putting them in dialogue with different popular artistic forms and literary genres, as well as with the spaces of death and dissection in Victorian London, exploring their role as channels for circulating discourses about anatomy and ethics among the Victorian poor.

About the authors

Anna Gasperini received her PhD from the National University of Ireland Galway. She specialises in Victorian popular fiction, Victorian medical history, and spatial and discourse theory. She is the current Membership Secretary of the UK-based Victorian Popular Fiction Association (VPFA).


Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • The Subject Examined: Penny Bloods, the Anatomy Act, and a Common Ground for Analysis

    Gasperini, Anna

    Pages 1-29

  • Manuscripts from the Diary of a Physician: Power, Ethics, and the Super-Doctor

    Gasperini, Anna

    Pages 31-80

  • Coping with the Displaced Corpse: Medicine, Truth, and Masculinity in Varney the Vampyre

    Gasperini, Anna

    Pages 81-127

  • Underground Truths: Sweeney Todd, Cannibalism, and Discourse Control

    Gasperini, Anna

    Pages 129-177

  • The Unknown Labyrinth: Radicalism, the Body, and the Anatomy Act in The Mysteries of London

    Gasperini, Anna

    Pages 179-229

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-10916-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-10915-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Nineteenth Century Popular Fiction, Medicine and Anatomy
Book Subtitle
The Victorian Penny Blood and the 1832 Anatomy Act
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-10916-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-10916-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-10915-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXII, 253
Number of Illustrations
2 b/w illustrations, 8 illustrations in colour
Topics