Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Animals Inside: Anatomy, Interiority And Virtue In The Early Modern Dutch Republic

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

It has been argued that from the sixteenth century onwards, as a result of the "anatomical renaissance", people increasingly imagined their personhood (that is his being mortal, fragile, prone to illness and the product of a divine plan) in anatomical terms. This chapter discusses the early modern phenomenon of animals living and breeding inside human bodies, which was widely known at the time as the "Bosom Serpent". It looks at contemporary physiological explanations of how animals can end up inside humans. The chapter also discusses the alleged appearance of "animals inside" in the cultural and political context of the early eighteenth-century Dutch Republic. It focuses on the work of Dutch anatomist Frederik Ruysch, whose anatomical cabinets were internationally known and admired. The chapter also highlights two aspects: (1) worms embodying pain and discomfort and (2) the occurrence of worms in relation to the female body.

Keywords: anatomical research; Bosom Serpent; early modern Dutch Republic; Frederik Ruysch; living animals



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Body Within — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation