Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

The Courtiers' Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV's Paris

By: Anita Guerrini(Author)

344 pages, 35 b/w photos and b/w illustrations

University of Chicago Press

Hardback | Jun 2015 | #221533 | ISBN-13: 9780226247663
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.50 $31/€27 approx

About this book

The Courtiers' Anatomists is about dead bodies and live animals in Louis XIV's Paris – and the surprising links between them. Examining the practice of seventeenth-century anatomy, Anita Guerrini reveals how anatomy and natural history were connected through animal dissection and vivisection. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, Parisian scientists, with the support of the king, dissected hundreds of animals from the royal menageries and the streets of Paris.

Guerrini is the first to tell the story of Joseph-Guichard Duverney, who performed violent, riot-inducing dissections of both animal and human bodies before the king at Versailles and in front of hundreds of spectators at the King's Garden in Paris. At the Paris Academy of Sciences, meanwhile, Claude Perrault, with the help of Duverney's dissections, edited two folios in the 1670s filled with lavish illustrations by court artists of exotic royal animals. Through the stories of Duverney and Perrault, as well as those of Marin Cureau de la Chambre, Jean Pecquet, and Louis Gayant, The Courtiers' Anatomists explores the relationships between empiricism and theory, human and animal, as well as the origins of the natural history museum and the relationship between science and other cultural activities, including art, music, and literature.

"Guerrini ably shows how anatomy emerged as a science within the institutional and courtly spaces of Louis XIV's France. Her beautifully illustrated and richly woven account explores the relationship between the emerging fashion for dissection and the mechanical philosophy, showing how and why dead bodies were enrolled into the wider transformation of European learning in the seventeenth century. Navigating between the pan-European Republic of Letters which made and disseminated new anatomical knowledge, and the promise and constraints of courtly patronage, Guerrini displays an assured grasp of her subject."
– E. C. Spary, University of Cambridge

"Guerrini's research has uncovered a wealth of information on the key figures of the time and their endeavors, from the early contacts among Jean Pecquet, Adrien Auzout, and Blaise Pascal, to the lecturing style of Joseph-Guichard Duverney. The Courtiers' Anatomists provides by far the most detailed account of the French anatomists' researches, relying on a subtle and far-reaching analysis of extensive manuscript sources ranging from the reports of the French Académie to Duverney's handwritten notes."
– Domenico Bertoloni Meli, Indiana University

"The history of seventeenth-century French science has suffered considerable neglect. Both the richness and the complexity of Guerrini's The Courtiers' Anatomists suggest why this is so: the context she explores requires both a mastery of the intellectual tradition throughout history and a deep familiarity with the sciences and scientific practices across Europe. Guerrini deftly weaves a complex history of many interconnected traditions, grounded in French professional and familial networks, court practices, and patronage. Thoroughly incorporating the natural sciences into the Scientific Revolution, The Courtiers' Anatomists offers an important amplification of our understanding of scientific practices in the early modern period."
– Kathleen Wellman, Southern Methodist University


A Note on Names, Dates, and Other Matters
Abbreviations Used in the Notes
List of Illustrations

Chapter 1 Anatomists and Courtiers
Chapter 2 The Anatomical Origins of the Paris Academy of Sciences
Chapter 3 The Animal Projects of the Paris Academy of Sciences
Chapter 4 The Histoire des animaux
Chapter 5 Perrault, Duverney, and Animal Mechanism
Chapter 6 The Courtiers’ Anatomist: Duverney at the Jardin du roi

Epilogue: The Afterlife of the Histoire des animaux

Write a review

There are currently no reviews for this product. Be the first to review this product!


Anita Guerrini is Horning Professor in the Humanities and professor of history in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. She is the author of Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights and Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment: The Life and Times of George Cheyne.

Bestsellers in this subject

Darwin's Ghosts

NHBS Price: £10.99 $14/€12 approx

Creatures Born of Mud and Slime

Pre-publication offer: £25.50 £33.50 (Save £8.00) $33/€28 approx

Darwin: Portrait of a Genius

NHBS Price: £10.99 $14/€12 approx

The Annotated Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

NHBS Price: £29.95 $38/€33 approx

The Lagoon

NHBS Price: £9.99 $13/€11 approx

VAT: GB 407 4846 44
NHBS Ltd is registered in England and Wales: 1875194