In sixteenth-centruy Venice, celebrated physician Mateo Colombo finds himself behind bars at the behest of the Church authorities. His is a crime of disclosure, heinous and heretical in the Church's eyes, in that his research threatens to subvert the whole secular order of Renaissance society. Like his namesake Christopher Colombus, he has made a discovery of enormous significance for humankind. Whereas Colombus voyaged outward to explore the world and found the Americas, Mateo Colombo looked inward, across the mons veneris, and uncovered the clitoris. Based on historical fact, The Anatomist is an utterly fascinating excursion into Renaissance Italy, as evocative of time and place as the work of Umberto Eco, and reminiscent of the earthy sensuality of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Perceptive and stirring, it ironically exposes not only the social hypocracies of the day, but also the prejudices and sexual taboos that may still be with us four hundred years later.
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