Through the Flesh – Dissection and the Cultural History of the Body

Espen Stueland

With knowledge and curiosity Through the Flesh explores dis­section of the human body; a much discussed and celebrated practice through the centuries. On the basis of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomic drawings and Rembrandt’s paintings from the dissection table, the author shows the rich artistic pro­duction that springs from dissection. The medical treatment of the body is the basis for what he writes about Shakespeare, Baudelaire, Wergeland and Frostenson, Orlan and Andres Serrano, and about movies and television: The X-Files, CSI and von Trier’s The Kingdom.

Is the dead body fair game? Does the dead body have any rights? Views on body and identity through the times are also a central topic. Are there limits to what we can put the body through? How were and are the relations between medicine, research, religion, moral and decency?

Through the Flesh is a vivid presentation of the dead body as object of inquisitiveness, taboo practices and not least as a source of inspiration. The book was praised as a a masterpiece of cultural history on its publication in 2009, and was also Stueland’s ph.d. dissertation.

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Additional info

  • Gjennom kjøttet – Disseksjonen og kroppens kulturhistorie
  • 2009
  • Forlaget Oktober
  • Essays
  • 400 pages