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📙 This mortal coil : the human body in history and culture by Alberti, Fay Bound — free download


"Hamlet's "mortal coil"--Which eventually and inevitably we "shuffle off" when we enter the sleep of death, as he puts it - has never been static. Indeed how the human body and its component parts have been understood, individually and collectively, has shifted across time, shaped by culture, religion, and technology. In this probing and provocative new book, Fay Bound Alberti uses the global histories of medicine, Read more...

Abstract: "Hamlet's "mortal coil"--Which eventually and inevitably we "shuffle off" when we enter the sleep of death, as he puts it - has never been static. Indeed how the human body and its component parts have been understood, individually and collectively, has shifted across time, shaped by culture, religion, and technology. In this probing and provocative new book, Fay Bound Alberti uses the global histories of medicine, pathology, and emotions to explore these changing notions. Each chapter uses a different focus - bones, skin, sexual organs, spine, tongue, heart - revealing how each body part connects to a peculiarly Western notion of expertise, one which appropriates one element from the others and ignores their interconnection. The themes examined in This Mortal Coil - the nature of identity, the relationship between the brain and the heart, and the gendering of our physical and emotional selves - are enduring ones, but perceptions of the "perfect body" or "perfect health" evolve constantly. Moving between the surface and what lies beneath, Alberti provides a rich and fascinating accounting of each part, shedding light on the role scientific developments - from medical care to plastic surgery to cloning - plays in how we look at ourselves. Written with insight and narrative verve, Alberti's provocative book reveals how the mortal coil can be unwound, and looked at as if for the first time"

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