Tag Archives: memento mori

Bloodlust: the embodiment of the uncanny in “The Vampyre”

Emily Cline Montréal, QC, Canada   John William Polidori’s The Vampyre, published in 1819, established the conventions of the vampire genre. Though Polidori did draw his inspiration from Lord Byron’s “Augustus Darvell,” the story was wrongfully attributed to Byron by publisher Henry Colburn. This People’s illustrated edition, published in London ca. 1884 and illustrated by […]

The basest of the senses: medical unease with the sense of smell

Rebecca Shulman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “…the primitive organ of smell, the basest of the senses” – Patrick Suskind, Perfume   Paul Broca, who mapped the parts of the human brain involved in olfaction and argued that they had been supplanted by free will. For the past two centuries, the medical profession has had […]

Laughing in the face of death: Ruysch, dark humor & subversion of the memento mori in anatomical art

Stefania Spano Kingston, Ontario, Canada   A history of dark humor La Catarina depicts the skeleton of a high-society woman, created for Día de los Muertos. Image © Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com Humor is an ancient tool for subverting tragedy. Parody and satire persuade audiences that even the greatest of grief can be made comical. Art […]

Anatomical ghosts in The Merchant of Venice

Mauro Spicci   Antonio and the dangers of self-diagnosis In the last few years the steadily growing number of attempts to read Shakespeare’s plays from a medical perspective has been justified by the idea that they are not simply the immortal fruits of a genius, but also documents reflecting the historical, cultural, and social background […]