This study reveals the horrifying fate of dead criminals in the nineteenth century whose bodies were sentenced to dissection as an expression of society's revulsion at their crimes, the consequences of which sometimes led to bodysnatching and the selling of victims' bodies to anatomists.
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Until 1832 dissection-much hated and much feared-was restricted to the corpses of hanged murderers. Bodysnatching was rife. The 1832 Anatomy Act, however, appropriated instead the corpses of the poor, effectively rendering dissection a punishment for poverty. Death, Dissection and the Destitute reveals why fear of the pauper funeral so afflicted the nineteenth-century poor. Ruth Richardson's book opens rich prospects in history and the history of science. Her new afterword draws important parallels between historical and current concerns about the body, organs for transplant, and human tissue for research.About the Author:
Ruth Richardson is a historian living in London.
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