Blood Work: Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution

bloodworktiffLecture and Book Signing with Professor and Author Holly Tucker
Date: Tuesday, March 22
Time: 8 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

In 1667 physician Jean-Baptiste Denis transfused calf’s blood into the body of Antoine Mauroy, an infamous madman known to tear through the streets of Paris naked and screaming. With this, Denis-a brash physician with a taste for the limelight-enraged both the elite doctors who wanted to perform the first animal-to-human blood transfusion themselves and powerful conservatives who believed he was toying with forces of nature that he didn’t understand. It only got worse when just days after the experiment, Mauroy was dead, and Denis was framed for murder. A trial ensued and Denis became a kind of 17th century Dr. Kevorkian, a stubborn man of science who held the public spellbound and reveled in controversy.

Animal-to-human transfusion was then on the cutting-edge of medicine. In an era in which superstition sparred with science, transfusion was also a flashpoint for controversy. Conservative camps in Catholic France, including King Louis XIV’s Academy of Sciences, railed against transfusion and predicted that before long animal-human hybrids would walk among us. Ambitious scientists fumed at being held back by retrograde forces who would choke the progress of science. A confused public feared that they would be crushed by cosmic backlash or social upheaval.

Join us tonight as Dr. Tucker tells us this fascinating story of a notorious madman, a renegade physician, a murder that remained unsolved for over three centuries, and the true story one of the world’s first blood transfusions in 17th century France as detailed in her new book, Blood Work: Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution (W.W. Norton, March 2011).

Copies of Blood Work will be also available for sale and signing.

Holly Tucker is an associate professor at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Medicine, Health & Society and the Department of French & Italian. Her research focuses on the history of medicine. She writes for publications including the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, New Scientist, and Christian Science Monitor. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. You can find out more at her website,
and her blog

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