Curiose Observations upon the Anatomie of Faeries

From The Library at Hurtfew
Jump to: navigation, search
The title of a work referred to by Mr. Norrell during the course of the visit of John Segundus and Mr Honeyfoot to Hurtfew[1]. Mr. Norrell remarks that it contains some information on Master Fallowthought, a fairy servant of the great Dr. Pale. Mr. Segundus had written a small but comprehensive work on the subject of Dr. Pale's fairy servants: the name of Master Fallowthought however had escaped him, a fact Mr. Norrell took a certain mean pleasure in drawing to his attention. (Mr. Norrell of course possesses a copy of this book and Mr. Segundus does not). Although as is his wont Mr. Norrell disparages the book and its authors, it seems it is also one of the books he recommends to the attention of Jonathan Strange, as the latter is reading it at breakfast one morning while ignoring his wife's attempts at making conversation[27].

As to the work itself, we may speculate it perhaps consists of philosophic reflections on differences between the bodies of fairies and Christians. Outwardly of course the two appear very similar; but this may be because fairies are able to shape and adapt their bodies somewhat at will (see Buckler ), and so assume a more human appearance when it suits them to do so. Mr Simonelli, quite a natural philosopher in his way, seems to have been struck by certain irregularities in the anatomy of his cousin, John Hollyshoes. These differences were evidently internal, as Mr Simonelli only remarks upon them after he has been obliged to destroy his cousin by cleaving him in twain [LoGA].

Medieval_Anatomy_2.jpg

Curious Observations indeed! This is of course an early medieval image based on human observation with all its impardonable flaws.

Fairy taking human form.jpg

We have to thank Andreas Vesalius for this much more realistic rendition of a fairy (literaly) taking human form. By the looks of this image, he took the skin of Santa Claus!

Andreas Vesalius.jpg

Andreas Vesalius (Latinised form of Andries van Wesel) apparently became ill aboard ship while returning to Europe from the Holy Land. He was put ashore on the Greek island of Zakynthos, where he died "ενώ οι καμπάνες πένθιμα τραγούδησε το τραγούδι του" (or so the local priest quoth).


More information on Andreas Vesalius can be found here.