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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Looking for pleasure or knowledge? Dissecting the narcissistic medical gaze of William Hunter (1718-1783)
by Houghton, Caryn C., M.A., California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2014, 105; 1526311
Abstract (Summary)

The images of dissected pregnant women in William Hunter's atlas Anatomia Uteri Humani Gravidi published in 1774 were among the first realistic, highly detailed illustrations of fetal development and pregnant female physiology. Commissioned by Hunter, the images established scientific truth about female reproductive anatomy, a previously misunderstood field, and aided in the elevation of the work of male-midwives to that of respected obstetricians. The fetal image he presented, like a Lacanian mirror, also opened the door into the psyche of William Hunter. Driven by his passion for anatomical research, Hunter pursued the uncharted territories of female anatomy and fetal development in a narcissistic path of self-aggrandizement. The thesis herein compares Hunter's images to historical images to examine Hunter's unique and innovative qualities. Hunter's images demystify the Jungian maternal archetype and reflect his desire to create artful images. The ethical use of the human body in the arts is also discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ellsworth, Kirstin L.
School: California State University, Dominguez Hills
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history, Womens studies, Medical Ethics
Keywords: 18th Century London, Anatomical Images, Female Anatomy, Gunter von Hagen's Body Worlds, Medical Ethics, William Hunter
Publication Number: 1526311
ISBN: 978-1-321-65245-1
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