Cover of Des Destinees de L'ame, a proven example of anthropodermic bibliopegy (bound in human skin)

Episode 60: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy Part 1

Chris Curran joins Emily to discuss the practice of binding books in human skin: anthropodermic bibliopegy. Get ready for a whole lot of Yikes.

The Necronomicon, tomes from the shelves of serial killers and war criminals—these are a few things that come to mind when we talk about books bound in human skin. Anthropodermic bibliopegy, as it is called, is actually quite a bit different than these sensationalist examples. In reality, the people whose libraries included these books were well-to-do doctors and other privileged members of society. In part one of this two part series, we explore the science of identifying these books, as well as how people came into possession of them.

Heed the content warnings and strap in! This one is more than a little gross.

Content Warnings for:

  • Corpse violation
  • Medical ethics violations
  • Abuse of power
  • Objectifying the human body
  • Colonialism

There are so many points of failure in this progression.
—Chris, regarding Dr. John Stockton Hough’s use of Mary Lynch’s skin in his personal library

Mentioned in this Episode

Link to transcript: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy Part 1

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