The Anatomy of the Senses

The Anatomy of the Senses : Natural Symbols in Medieval and Early Modern Italy

3.83 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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This book is a brilliant account of medieval and early modern attitudes to the cosmos in general and the human body in particular, written by one of the foremost historians of folklore and popular beliefs in Europe today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 165 x 235 x 21mm | 484g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0745605060
  • 9780745605067
  • 1,895,874

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Back cover copy

Piero Camporesi is one of the foremost historians of folklore andpopular beliefs in Europe today. This book is a brilliant accountof medieval and early modern attitudes to the cosmos in general andthe human body in particular.

Drawing on a large body of literature, Camporesi builds up aremarkable picture of the everyday beliefs and practices ofmedieval and early modern Italy.

He examines the symbolism relating to food and the overtones ofvampirism which have haunted the Christian sacraments. He discussesthe eating habits of monks and hermits which were held up as areligious model for the community. He offers a striking analysis ofmedieval views of the body, and of humanity situated at the centreof the symbolic universe. Moving from the anatomical table to thekitchen table, he shows the similarities between the anatomist andthe cook, both of whom worked with dead flesh, with corpses whichhad to be cut up, greased, severed, skinned, diced and gutted.
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Table of contents

The Hieroglyphic for Pleasure. Plants as Symbols. The Cursed Cheese. The "Stupendous Abstinences". The "Dreadful Desire to Study.". The Anatomy of Emptiness. "Juicy, Soft and Flexible.". Retarded Knowledge. Index.
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Review quote

'Comprehensive, lucid and original, The Anatomy of the Senses will stand high amongst Camporesi's works.' Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of medicine 'Piero Camporesi is one of the most stimulating and path-breaking historians.' Roy Porter 'These are essays in the fullest sense. Camporesi eschews the footnotes... He reaches for the opposite: a personal response to subjects shaped by wide reading, inspired insights, and reflexive prejudices.' The Times Higher Education Supplement '... The mass of detailed evidence collected here remains consistently fascinating. This is an important book by an important historian." Choice
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About Piero Camporesi

Piero Camporesi is the Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Bologna. His previous books include The Magic Harvest (Polity, 1993) and Exotic Brew (Polity, 1994).
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Rating details

6 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 50% (3)
3 33% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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