Shocking Bodies

By Iwan Rhys Morus,

Book cover of Shocking Bodies: Life, Death and Electricity in Victorian England

Book description

For the Victorians, electricity was the science of spectacle and of wonder. It provided them with new ways of probing the nature of reality and understanding themselves. Luigi Galvani's discovery of 'animal electricity' at the end of the eighteenth century opened up a whole new world of possibilities, in which…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Shocking Bodies as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Gruesome experiments extended Luigi Galvani’s early work with frog cadavers into human ones.

Victorian-era scientists shocked the bodies of executed prisoners, or sold improbably electrical cures, all in the hopes of finding the answers to questions about the boundary between life and death.

Iwan Rhys Morus chooses four case studies that explain how science got to grips with electricity and its effects on the human body, and what the intersection implied about both.

The book provides lasting insights into why electric medicine is still widely associated with pseudoscience today.

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