Extremes : Reflections on Human Behavior
Dutch cardiologist A. J. Dunning brings a wry wit and an impressive knowledge of art, literature, and religion to his essays on the sublime and the monstrous in society.He writes of Joan of Arc and Gilles de Rais, who were brought together in the service of their king and eventually burnt at the stake: one is a martyr, one as a pederast mass murderer. He compares a seventeenth-century nun's veneration of the heart with that of the first surgeons who performed heart transplants. He gives the clinical facts behind Gustav Mahler's fatal sore throat, Sigmund Freud's cocaine addiction, and Charlotte Corday's assassination of Marat in his bath. He tells of the practice in England of body-snatching for science, and of the practice in Italy of castrating young boys for music. He discusses parthenogenesis, the use of hormones in the search for eternal youth, and mystifying fatigue syndromes in different countries and generations. The invention of Braille. The satanic verse of Baudelaire. The atrocious eating habits of medieval saints and modern teenage girls.Informative, entertaining, preposterous tales - all documented, all true - of how unnatural human nature can be.
- Book | 207 pages
- 134.62 x 205.74 x 15.24mm | 396.89g
- 01 Sep 1992
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
- United States
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