Aldersey-Williams: The Human Body

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The author

To support his thesis, Aldersey-Williams uses many different materials such as scientific hypothesis, pictures and figures, bold citations, anecdotes from popular philosophers and scientists from history such as ‘Leonardo was probably the first artist to cut up the human body and draw what he saw’ and curious facts about our organs. In a splendid and enthusiastic way he covers facts about the human body from history, science, anthropology, philosophy and art, because from his point of view the human body can not be understood just by studying science and biological books but also with the help of art. Combining these two he gives us a better understanding of ourselves. Aldersey-Williams sees the language of science and arts as complementing by just showing different ways of knowing and talking about ourselves. That is no surprise if we get to know something about the author himself. Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of several books depicting science and art and journalist from the United Kingdom, studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He has a latent interest in arts, particularly in architecture and design, trying to satisfy these urges by starting a career in journalism. Born in London by an American mother and an English father make him a person of combined nationality and strengthened his interest in matters of national identity. As a journalist with a crush for story telling, Aldersey-Williams engages the reader in a narrative that goes from ancient body art, starting his book with the dissection of the human body captured by Rembrandt’s painting to plastic surgery nowadays. Exploring the mysteries of the human body from head to toe, he stresses his interesting founding’s not only by recited literature but also fill...

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...ves in a positive way. With a negatively way he would not be very encouraging us.


The message of this book is impressionistic, inspiring and entertaining as well. By reading this book, at some paragraphs I thought: ‘Oh well, never thought about that from that point of view, interesting’. To conclude Anatomies is an ambition and inspiration to stimulate a more positive vision of the body. Reading this book is both – a pleasure and an education. It embodies the subject, the human body, by a combination of scientific facts and artistic visions. With access to so many secrets about the human body with changes in norms, values and knowledge about it, the reader gets closer to himself and his body. I recommend it to all – even critical scientists to think about the human body in whole, to reach the hand towards it and to appreciate it the way it is.

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