The Barr Smith Library and the Cowan Grant are pleased to announce that Dr Emily Cock, from the Discipline of English and Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, is the successful applicant for the 2014 Bill Cowan Barr Smith Library Fellowship. The purpose of the award is to assist research postgraduates financially with uninterrupted time to work with the Library’s collections. Post-doctoral researchers are eligible within three years of a doctoral award.
Emily is an early career researcher. Her PhD, awarded 2013, investigated prostitution and plastic surgery in early modern England. Her post-doctoral research will investigate in greater detail the history of plastic surgery within a broader sphere of preventative, reconstructive, or otherwise elective health services, products and procedures with the aim of an academic book. The research will be conducted with an eye to the role of fear, shame and disgust in contemporary ethical and political debates in modern medicine (such as assisted reproduction services, organ and tissue sales and donations, and especially the ‘moral limits’ of aesthetic and reconstructive surgery). This project will historicize the sociology and literature of disease and diagnosis in early modern Europe.
In response to the award Emily said: “The fellowship will enable me to work intensely with a key text that is held in Rare Books and Special Collections of the Barr Smith Library. The only copy in Australia, Gaspare Tagliacozzi’s De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem published in Venice 1597 is the foremost text on plastic surgery produced in early modern Europe”.
Tagliacozzi detailed how a skin graft from a patient’s arm could be used to reconstruct his or her nose, lip, or ear. His work unfortunately became synonymous with the reconstruction of a nose lost to syphilis and its mercurial treatments. Tagliacozzi was therefore attacked for this technology, which detractors saw as interfering with divine will and obscuring the legibility of the ‘shameful’ body.
There are approximately forty copies of Tagliacozzi’s lavish, two-volume folio in academic library collections in the UK, USA and Canada. The Barr Smith copy bound in one volume was presented by Sir Henry Simpson Newland, Teacher of Surgery in the Medical School, 1912-1937.
Find more information about Emily on the 2014 Fellow webpage