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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Imagining Vesalius: An Ekphrastic, Scholarly, and Literary Celebration of the 1543 De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

Imagining Vesalius is a collection of ekphrastic works  -  poetry, prose, watercolors and sculpture – celebrating the 1543 landmark anatomical atlas by Andreas Vesalius. Using the stunning woodcuts in this famous book as inspiration, writers and artists have contributed prose poems and art works on subjects ranging from a parent's autopsy to immortality through dissection, murder, organ donation to amputation to the role of women in dissection to the anatomy of gaze. Introductory essays discuss Vesalius's place in the history of medicine, Vesalius as seen by a modern day poet, and a contemplative reflection on Vesalius's contributions to the development of dissection. A section of translation presents seven poems to or about Vesalius by famous contemporaries or near contemporaries, including Philip Melanchthon and Jakob Balde. Four appear for the first time in English. A rich anthology of Vesaliana, Imagining Vesalius will prove of interest to readers and scholars alike, with its offerings in ekphrasis, literature and medicine, the history of medicine and late medieval studies in art, anatomy and medicine.

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