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Title: The Criminal Corpse, Anatomists, and the Criminal Law: Parliamentary Attempts to Extend the Dissection of Offenders in Late Eighteenth-Century England
Authors: Ward, Richard
First Published: 16-Jan-2015
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP) for The North American Conference on British Studies
Citation: Journal of British Studies, 2015, 54 (1), pp 63-87
Abstract: In the later eighteenth century, two schemes were introduced in Parliament for extending the practice of handing over the bodies of executed offenders to anatomists for dissection. Both measures were motivated by the needs of the field of anatomy, including the improvement of surgical skill, the development of medical teaching in the provinces, and public anatomical demonstrations. Yet both failed to pass into law due to concerns about the possibly damaging effects in terms of criminal justice. Through a detailed analysis of the origins and progress of these two parliamentary measures—a moment when the competing claims of anatomy and criminal justice vied for supremacy over the criminal corpse—the article sheds light on judicial attitudes to dissection as a method of punishment and adds to our understanding of the reasons why, in the nineteenth century, the dread of dissection would come to fall upon the dead poor rather than executed offenders.
DOI Link: 10.1017/jbr.2014.167
ISSN: 0021-9371
eISSN: 1545-6986
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015, Cambridge University Press (CUP) for North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS). Archived with permission of the publisher.
Description: Author granted permission for immediate deposit by publisher.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Historical Studies

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