terça-feira, janeiro 31, 2017

The Anatomist, by Bill Hayes

I heard about this book in Oliver Sacks' autobiography (Bill Hayes was his romantic partner on his last years). It seemed interesting, even if Gray's Anatomy was never a art of my college textbooks, since in Portugal we study by the French textbooks by Testut and Rouvière. It's a good book, it's interesting how the author started looking for the life of Henry Gray but ended up by writing mostly about the life of Henry Vandyke Carter, the other anatomist, the one who did the drawings that illustrate the famous textbook. Henry Gray looms like a shadow over the book, but Carter comes up as a lively and real person, whose aspirations and struggles are extremely well depicted. The narrative of the author's quest, his fascination for the study of anatomy, is also very engaging. I can relate to that, even if personally I hated the dissection classes in college - mostly because of the terrible smell of phormaldehyde, because I wasn't particularly impressed by the cadavers as people, they just seemed things, and mostly very repulsive ones. But all in all considering the author's quest and Carter's life and feelings as expressed in his diary, this book is worth reading.

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