Anita GuerriniThe Courtiers’ Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Paris

University of Chicago Press, 2015

by Carla Nappi on November 4, 2015

Anita Guerrini

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Anita Guerrini's wonderful new book explores Paris as a site of anatomy, dissection, and science during the reign of Louis XIV between 1643-1715. The journey begins with readers accompanying a dead body to sites of dissection across the city, after which we are introduced to four anatomists – charter members of the Paris Academy of Sciences – who will act as focal points for the rest of the story.The Courtiers' Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV's Paris (University of Chicago Press, 2015) opens up Parisian bodies – human and animal, dead and alive – to argue that dissection played a major role in the development of experimental methods in seventeenth century science. In Guerrini's hands, the history of science and medicine in early modern Paris was simultaneously a history of fairy tales and opera, dogs and chameleons, artists and knife-makers, labyrinth-making and oratory. It is a fascinating book that is a must-read for historians of anatomy and of early modern science and medicine, and will be accessible and gripping for readers well beyond those fields.

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