An extraordinary biography. A gallery of astonishing work. The legacy of a madman.
Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?
The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from a childhood spent exhuming corpses through his medical training, his travels with carnivals, and the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts—dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus—all rendered in meticulously detailed anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.
Hudspeth provides the biography of fictional 19th-century scientist and surgeon Spencer Black, whose work takes a dark turn when he develops a theory that birth defects are latent body memories the body's attempt to return to some earlier, more "perfect" form. Black's attempts to recreate these genetic models are described through biographical writing and excerpts from his diary, creating an image of a dreadful human who is blinded by his own faulty theories. The majority of the work is taken up with Black's magnum opus, The Codex Extinct Animalia, which contains brief descriptions of the creatures Black created, along with extensive drawings showing their appearance, skeletons, and musculature. While the textual portion of the work is horrific, the artistic portion is almost clinical in its detachment, making the interaction of the two all the more disturbing. The book is a welcome addition to any library of dark fantasy, with its beautiful portraiture and gripping description of a man's descent into perversity.
Was interesting...certainly a fascinating short read !
Great Weekend Read
This was the perfect book to break up some of the heavier reading I was doing. I saw this was the author’s first book and I thought it was an interesting piece of history and a dark topic intriguing topic to cover for a first book. I had never heard of Doctor Black and he feels like a character out of a fantasy novel. Natural scientists will enjoy the break away from reality and inspire that “what if” moment we forget about. Fantasy writers and fans of Lovecraft will also most likely find this enjoyable. I really enjoyed it.
Like a kids book for Adults