Anne Hunter and the Body-Snatchers:An Anatomy of Romantic Medicine, Politics and Elegy

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Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Arts

Original languageEnglish
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    Award date2010
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    Abstract

    It is a gloomy night in the depths of a chilling winter. An oppressive despondency hangs in the air. The constant threat of political discord and news from across the channel of revolutionary violence permeates the minds of those absent from the midnight streets of London. The house in Earls Court looms beyond the tall iron railings, the call of the various exotic animals which patrol the grounds are silenced as the dark fog settles, obscuring the building partially from view. Barely visible from the street, the light from the dining room casts a warm glow on the mist; the heart of the Hunters’ home is alive with music, dancing and discussion. Beautiful notes flow from the piano, enchanting the guests with Scottish airs and carefully penned lyrics, as the charming hostess casts a warm eye over those she has gathered together in a coterie friendship laced with a dedication to art, literature and poetry. She is graceful and elegant, with a smile which hints at a brave yet tortured soul. While the warm glow and the faint notes filter through the midnight mists, from a small basement window a piercing clinical glare of light distracts the eye from the familial comforts of the dining room, to the haunting silhouette of a figure, hunched over a cold and lifeless form, frantically working at his grisly task with a certain deathly precision. Suddenly, a roar of raucous laughter from the party interrupts the shadowy figure; he ascends the stairs and dramatically crashes through the doors of the dining room, causing a wave of stunned silence to wash over the gathered musical professors, connoisseurs and artistic vagrants