Morbid Fact Du Jour For August 26, 2017

Today’s Gluttonous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Julien Offray de la Mettrie was a French philosopher and is credited with inventing cognitive science (defined as the “study of mental tasks and the processes that enable them to be performed”). He also wrote of the joys of materialism for materialism’s sake, authoring the book Man a Machine. Presumably, he didn’t intend the title of his book as a metaphor, since he frequently tested his body to the limits. At his last act, Offray conducted an experiment to prove the harmless effects of occasional gluttony. The philosopher was quite lean and always presented a carefree attitude, believing that life was meant for savoring one’s favorite material pleasures as they arose. At a banquet given in his honor in 1751 he found the pâte aux truffes to be so delicious that he devoured tray after tray – until he collapsed to the floor. He died the next day after suffering a high fever and delirium at age forty-one. 

“Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are very good indeed!”

Culled from: Genius and Heroin: The Illustrated Catalogue of Creativity, Obsession, and Reckless Abandon Through the Ages


Forthcoming Morbidity!

I was just reading about this book which will be released in October and thought it sounds absolutely fantastic!  I thought I’d share in case you might want to check it out as well?   It has been added to my Wishlist!

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
by Lindsey Fitzharris  
Release Date: October 17, 2017

“In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. She conjures up early operating theaters―no place for the squeamish―and surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than patients’ afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn’t have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the riddle and change the course of history.

“Fitzharris dramatically reconstructs Lister’s career path to his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection and could be countered by a sterilizing agent applied to wounds. She introduces us to Lister’s contemporaries―some of them brilliant, some outright criminal―and leads us through the grimy schools and squalid hospitals where they learned their art, the dead houses where they studied, and the cemeteries they ransacked for cadavers.

“Eerie and illuminating, The Butchering Art celebrates the triumph of a visionary surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world.”

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