A Most Delightful Book: Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell

Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell
Published: November 2019
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Genre: Nonfiction, Medieval Studies, Medieval Medicine
Available: hardback, Kindle, audio and at your local Library!
Pages: 352

Reviewers note: I checked this book out of my local library. Yeah, library, remember that place where you can get books for free!

Bio: (stolen from the internet)
Jack Hartnell is Lecturer in Art History at the University of East Anglia, where his research and teaching focus on the visual culture of late medieval and early renaissance medicine, cartography, and mathematics. In 2015–2017 he was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at Columbia University, New York, before which he held positions as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art and the inaugural Posdoctoral Fellow between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin. 

He's also kinda cute! (not part of original bio)

I loved this book! Can I say it again, loved it. I have always been fascinated by medieval history and this book hit the spot. It's not a dry dusty tome which will put you to sleep faster than 10mgs of Ambien with a whiskey chaser. It's witty, whimsical and--I feel like I need another 'w' word here--wonderful. 

The author takes us on tour of the human body from top to bottom. It covers death, dying, and all the bits in between. I felt like we were on a meandering journey of discover, never knowing exactly what was around the bend. More than mere words, this book is a visual feast for the eyes. Page after page of  medieval manuscripts, art work, artifacts, clothing, and much more. 

I was impressed with not only the amount of research that went into producing this book but also my new found knowledge of medieval medicine. Did you know that 14th century doctors could do a skin graft to replace the nose you lost to syphilis? Not sure what the success rate was or what you'd look like but, wow!

As a writer of historical fiction I can see myself running to this book for ideas on medieval medical practices. But there is information about food, clothing, cultural and religious practices as well. If you're a history nerd, you'll adore this book as much as I do. 

I give this book 5 stars:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and that's a big deal!

My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend


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