Washed and Spiced

Peter Bradshaw

  • The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture by Jonathan Sawday
    Routledge, 327 pp, £35.00, May 1995, ISBN 0 415 04444 8

Dr Paul-Michel Foucault, a wealthy and conservative surgeon, is deeply irritated by his young son’s evident disinclination to follow him into medicine and apparently infuriated by his effete strain of bookishness. He decides to toughen the boy up by introducing him to the bracing and heroic virilities a surgeon habitually displays. So he takes the young man into the operating-room of the hospital at Poitiers and forces him to witness the amputation of a man’s leg.

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