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1 Introduction: Understanding Eighteenth-Century Leiden Anatomy

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, which highlights that the Leiden collections have so much to tell us about how our forebears thought about health and sickness, life and death, beauty and ugliness, research and medicine, themselves and the other, and how their ideas and practices influenced ours, that it would be a loss if we did not try to enhance our understanding of them. The book explores the eighteenth-century Leiden anatomical collections to gain a better understanding of why and how these objects were made and used, of what they meant and can mean. The starting point for these explorations is the very specific materiality of the preparations. To do so systematically, and to understand the epistemic culture from which the preparations emerged, a theoretical framework is used to develop the analytical concept of aesthesis.

Keywords: concept of aesthesis; eighteenth-century Leiden anatomical collections; epistemic culture



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