his body "legally secured to doctors" — Only the bodies of executed criminals could be dissected in the early 1800s and consequently there was a shortage of cadavers on which medical students could learn anatomy and physiology. Grave robbing was one method used to acquire corpses; murder was another. de Quincey wanted to be able to give his body to "medical science" but this was not really acceptable to the Church because of the teaching of the resurrection of the body on the Last Day. Dissected corpses could not be "raised from the dead" which is why criminals' bodies were used.


Last modified 17 March 2002