Cardiff Metropolitan University
E_Reynolds_PhD_Thesis.pdf (1.43 MB)

Incorruptible : The female body and the anatomical waxes at La Specola

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posted on 2024-01-19, 11:43 authored by Eleanor Reynolds

 This PhD comprises a Gothic historical novel, set in the anatomical workshop at La Specola in eighteenth-century Florence, and a commentary which explores the female body in relation to the abject. The production of the Anatomical Venuses, life-sized wax models of women whose torsos can be removed to display the organs beneath, has baffled anatomists and art historians for centuries. With their heads tilted back and lips parted, these hyper-sexualised demonstrations of female anatomy contradict our expectations of accurate scientific objects. In pursuing this PhD, I aimed, through fiction, to explore and reconcile my response to these models within the context of society’s ingrained aversion to the female body. 



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year