In 1567, the house of Vitus Jacobaeus published a broadsheet image of the anatomy of Martin Luther. The image, which depicts the dissection of Luthers corpse, the eating of his flesh, and the drinking of his blood, brings together early modern corpse pharmacology and the Reformation debate about the true nature of the Eucharist in a tableau of cannibalism. Such an evocative representation of corporeal associations raises the question that underpins the chapter: is there a discursive overlap between the medical ingestions of corpses and the denial of the Eucharist as corporeal matter that reveals a residual Protestant hunger for the real flesh and blood of Christ? In this anti-Reformation portrait of a public anatomy, Luthers body, lying like that of an executed criminal on the anatomists table, is tortured, dissected, dismembered, and his blood drunk and flesh eaten by his followers-agroup that includes other influential Reformers such as Calvin, Zwingli, Viret, Brenz, and Melanchthon. Significantly, although the act of cannibalism is just one of several atrocities the image represents, it dominates and thus controls interpretation of the scene. One of Luthers legs, still attached to his body, is being eaten, and the long sweep of the raised leg draws the viewers eye upwards, to be arrested at
the open mouth of the eater chomping down on Luthers foot. Meanwhile, another follower is collecting and drinking the blood gushing from the severed stump of Luthers other leg. The Eucharistic implications of the broadsheet are reinforced by a spear piercing Luthers side and an image from the crucifixion of Christ in the upper left corner. Culinary allusions are also present; the upper right corner depicts the kitchen scene in which Peter denies Christ, reinforcing the association between anatomy theaters and kitchens that I identify in my discussion of Titus.
Subscribing to a gendered cultural and medical ideology, in the epigraph quoted above the traveler Pietro Della Valle (1586-1652) unequivocally states: “The best [mummy] comes from the maidens and the bodies of virgins.” In these terms, the medical representation of the fille vierge as the ideal mummy remedy is a troubling symptom of a masculing pathology exhibited as an obsessive need to know and control the female body and female sexuality. Given the masculine scientific desire for epistemological mastery of such a threatening corporeality, evidenced by the numerous gynecological and obstetrical texts in circulation, and the insatiable fascination with penetrating and discovering the female body in early modern anatomy theaters is it no surprise that the virginal female body, pure of heart and unblemished, was represented as possessing an unequaled potency-more efficacious and more exquisite than any other corpse could yield. Such a belief is possible within the larger context of what Marie H. Loughlin describes as “the powerful, pervasive, and enduring cultural fiction of the unbroken hymen as the surety of a womans sexual innocence.”
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
525 pgs + 163 pix = 1,000s of FACTS!
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Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. I: The Untold History of The White Races; cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: 100 pound hail stones, Sex in The Streets, Cuckolds in Poems Molly Houses, The Orders of Beggars, Torture, Medicinal Cannibalism, Food: Black Puddings & Eel Pie, Bathed Once a Year, Bloodthirsty Knights, Government Sanctioned Prostitution, Infants fed wine, Cross Dressing Men, Gang Raping Teenagers, Incest Marriages, Insane Kings & Queens, The Bastard Children, Condoms, Dildos, & Birth Control & A Long List of Infanticide. There’s Many Many More Odd Facts Inside!
The Mercury News: Blood from the young now on sale for the old in San Francisco: report.