Sorry for the long delay, but we’ve been working steadily and like crazy to put this thing together this entire time, and I’m excited to say that the book is coming along nicely. I’ve been working almost nonstop that time, editing the anthology over the past two months, working with 27 different writers on something like 90,000 words of text. We’ve been taking our time because we wanted to get it right—we wanted the essays to be more than just quickly dashed-off pieces, writing which represented the full scope and range of what the Morbid Anatomy Library has come to represent, and to make sure that each individual piece is as strong as it can be.
So, without further delay, I wanted to share with you the table of contents for the Morbid Anatomy Anthology:
• Naples: In the Court of Miracles / Chiara Ambrosio
• Look Not Upon Them! Maternity and the Monstrous Imagination / Stephen T. Asma
• Staging the Unconscious / Zoe Beloff
• At the [Human] Zoo: A Sampling of Ethnographic Exhibitions in the Modern World / Elizabeth L. Bradley
• Anatomy or an Ottamy? Bodies on Show in Georgian London / Simon Chaplin
• Ghost Images: The Curious Afterlife of Postmortem Photographs / Mark Dery
• The False Atrium: Notes on Mourning / Colin Dickey
• Demonic Children and Their Curious Absence in the European Witch Trials / Caitlin Doughty
• Birth of Venus / Joanna Ebenstein
• Soap Stories: The Mysterious Life and Dreadful Afterlife of the Mütter Museum’s Adipocere Body / Richard Faulk
• Staging Science at Wellcome Collection: Anatomical Models in Context / Kate Forde
• Giuliu Camillo: Renaissance Scholar, Conman, and Father of the Kabbalistic Theatre / Mel Gordon
• Morbid Curiosity Meets Morbid Anatomy / Richard Harris
• Memento Mori: Reflections on the Art of the Tableau / Amy Herzog
• Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class / Amber Jolliffe
• Hell Époque: Death-themed Cabarets and other Macabre Entertainments of Nineteenth Century Paris / Vadim Kosmos
• Skulls and Big Rigs: The World's Strangest Truck Stop / Paul Koudounaris
• A Philosophy of Wax: The Anatomy of Frederik Ruysch / Dániel Margócsy
• Death and Doctor Buchan / Ross McFarlane
• The Withering Crowd / Evan Michelson
• Stuffed Humans / Pat Morris
• Empress and Lover: Personifying Death in Mexico / Salvador Olguín
• What a Wonderful World / David Pescovitz
• Tough / Carl Schoonover
• Bound in Human Skin: A Survey of Examples of Anthropodermic Bibliopegy / Daniel Smith
• The Spiritualists / Shannon Taggart
• The Devil In 3 Dimensions / Ronni Thomas
• On the Non-Denial Denial of Death / John Troyer
Some of our original planned contributors had to drop out for a variety of unavoidable reasons, and we’ve replaced those writers with other really fabulous people, and in the whole, both Joanna and I think this list of essays represents a really fabulous and fascinating body of work.
I’ll admit, this process has taken longer than we’d like, and probably our initial goal of getting the book in your hands by summer is likely not going to happen. Partly that’s because, to be frank, there are elements to book production we just didn’t calculate in our original calendar: we’re sending the text this week to a copy-editor, which is a necessary step but not one we had first planned for. Beyond that, though, while we raised a good deal of money for this book, almost all of that is going back into production and paying writers, which means both Joanna and I still have our day jobs. But please be assured we are still devoting as much time as either of us can spare to this project, and it’s coming along nicely, if not as quickly as we’d originally hoped.
The copy editor should be done with the book by late May, at which point Joanna will take over and begin laying out the book. This means not only formatting the text but also working with all the authors to find images, secure permissions etc. This will hopefully not take too long, but, again, we’d rather have a book that’s full of beautiful and amazing images that is maybe a few weeks late rather than a rushed job that’s not as cool as it could be.
So we probably won’t have another update until the copy editor is done and the layout process is underway, probably sometime in June. But just reading through everything one last time in order to get it ready for the copy editor has reaffirmed to me what an amazing, wonderful book this is going to be. We really can’t wait for you all to receive it.
All the best,
Colin (and Joanna)