First Cut: A Season in the Human Anatomy Lab

Carter III, Albert Howard

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Treatise

Annotated by:
Willms, Janice
  • Date of entry: Jan-24-1998


The writer, a comparative literature professor, elected to spend one full semester as an up-close observer in a medical school anatomy lab during the student dissection experience. He approached the experiment with the clearly articulated intention of writing about the lab, the instructors, the students, and their subjects. The book takes the reader dissection by dissection through the socialization process, as well as the technical content, of the class--from the first cut to the final memorial services for the cadavers at the closure of the term.


Although particularly meaningful to a medical audience, the language and presentation of this book also makes it accessible to a non-science reader. The journal-like chapters are liberally peppered with historical anatomical drawings and accompanying written clarifications, borrowed largely from Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica. As bonus, there are three essays by the author containing valuable reflections on a number of issues related to teaching medical students anatomy by means of human dissection.



Place Published

New York



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