Monday, October 12, 2020

32 Days of Halloween - Day 12 - Book

The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudsbeth. Quirk Books. 2013

Dr. Spencer Black was a renowned surgeon and anatomist in the late 19th century, but his studies in teratology led him to bizarre beliefs, and his undoing. According to Black, mythological creatures were real, and when a person, or animal was born malformed, it was due to the body attempting to revert to one of those hybrid mythical forms. Dissections and mutilations led Black on a mad quest to attempt recreating numerous mythological species through surgery rather than genetics.

The Resurrectionist is divided into two parts. The first section contains a biographical overview of his life and work. The rest of the book is devoted to his notes and precise anatomical drawings of his mythological recreations. While an initial perusal would suggest this as slight reading material created to support Hudsbeth's finely rendered drawings, there is something unsavory about the book as a whole. Another book that was created to serve as a biological and anatomical field guide to mythological creatures using the same illustrations would come off as fascinating, but after reading the disturbing account of Black's disturbing experiments, those same illustrations come across as grotesque and unsettling, like something you really shouldn't be looking at. This is a strong recommendation.

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