John Hunter, the once and future surgeon
Includes pre-talk access to the Hunterian Museum from 5.15pm.
27th July 2023
Revered and feared in equal measure, John Hunter (1728-93) was the most famous surgeon of 18th-century London. Rich or poor, suffering Georgians knew that Hunter’s skills might save their lives but if he failed, their corpses could end up on his dissecting table, their bones and organs destined for display in his remarkable museum. Maverick medical pioneer, adored teacher, brilliant naturalist, Hunter was a key figure of the Enlightenment who transformed surgery, advanced biological understanding and even anticipated the evolutionary theories of Darwin. He provided inspiration both for Dr Jekyll and Dr Dolittle. But the extremes to which he went to pursue his scientific mission raised question marks then as now.
Wendy Moore is a journalist and author. She has written on medical issues for newspapers including The Times, Guardian and Observer, and for journals including the Lancet, BMJ and TLS. She is the author of five books on medical and social history. Her biography of John Hunter, The Knife Man: Blood, Body-Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery, was published in 2005. Her most recent book, Endell Street: The Women who ran Britain’s Trailblazing Military Hospital, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.
Wendy Moore, author
The Knife Man: Blood, Body-Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery, 2005