Dissecting the Criminal Corpse

Staging Post-Execution Punishment in Early Modern England

by Elizabeth T. Hurren

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Book Description

Those convicted of homicide were hanged on the public gallows before being dissected under the Murder Act in Georgian England. Yet, from 1752, whether criminals actually died on the hanging tree or in the dissection room remained a medical mystery in early modern society. Dissecting the Criminal Corpse takes issue with the historical cliché of corpses dangling from the hangman's rope in crime studies. Some convicted murderers did survive execution in early modern England. Establishing medical death in the heart-lungs-brain was a physical enigma. Criminals had large bullnecks, strong willpowers, and hearty survival instincts. Extreme hypothermia often disguised coma in a prisoner hanged in the winter cold. The youngest and fittest were capable of reviving on the dissection table. Many died under the lancet. Capital legislation disguised a complex medical choreography that surgeons staged. They broke the Hippocratic Oath by executing the Dangerous Dead across England from 1752 until 1832.

This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY). You can download Dissecting the Criminal Corpse ebook for free in PDF format (6.0 MB).

Book Details

Subject
History
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Published
2016
Pages
326
Edition
1
Language
English
ISBN13
9781137582485
ISBN10
1137582480
ISBN13 Digital
9781137582492
ISBN10 Digital
1137582499
PDF Size
6.0 MB
License
CC BY

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