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The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,245 ratings  ·  532 reviews
Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotau ...more
ebook, 187 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Quirk Books
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Robson Bittencourt I'm not sure whether you are asking a rhetorical question, but anyways: I guess this book is fantasy. However, this doesn't matter much: it is…moreI'm not sure whether you are asking a rhetorical question, but anyways: I guess this book is fantasy. However, this doesn't matter much: it is certainly a fun reading!(less)
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,245 ratings  ·  532 reviews

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Darth J
Morbid curiosity drew me to this book. Seriously, you need a morbid curiosity with this book due to the speculative subject matter and the depraved experiments that are entailed within.

The Good:
The story is interesting and captivates you in a really twisted way.
The level of detail that went into the artwork is astounding, and is the biggest draw of the book.

The Bad:
The actual story is only 65 pages long.
There are too many loose ends.

In conclusion, I really loved this as a whole for what it was
It never occurred to me that I wouldn't love this book, but it just never really came together for me, the excellent anatomical illustrations of mythical beasties notwithstanding. The cover itself is riveting, depicting the skeletal structure of a harpy. This is the fictional biography of one Dr. Spenser Black. Son of a grave robber, the seed of madness was planted early. As a grown man, his hypothesis was that we have evolved from satyrs, harpies, the chimera, dragons, and the like. The ways in ...more
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black I'm pretty unclear on the fiction to non-fiction ratio going on in this book (mythical creatures notwithstanding). However, having endured several semesters of the history of science and cranked out more than one term paper on curiosity cabinets, I can safely say that almost all of this could have been true.

Scientists, doctors, surgeons and whatnot by necessity were talented artists (if you don't believe me, check out Galen and Vesalius' c
Hannah Greendale
According to Dr. Spencer Black, mythological creatures -- mermaids, fawns, minotaurs, etc. -- were the evolutionary ancestors of humankind. In attempt to prove his theory, he ventured down a dark path, cobbling together body parts in the depths of a gaslit storage shed. His progress was cataloged in a number of chilling letters written to his brother, and the result of his work was The Codex Extinct Animalia: A Study of the Lesser Known Species of the Animal Kindgom, replete with detailed anatom ...more
Travis O.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, science

MAY 27, 2013
The Resurrectionist Review

Do you remember when horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction were almost as fringe as the occult studies themselves? Unfortunately for many fans of the grotesque and horrible, the stratospheric rise of franchises like Twilight and Harry Potter have, whatever their individual merits, stripped us of our creepers and crawlers, nightmares and madness, and returned them as a sanitized, sterile, and often vapid caricatures for their former macabre beauty. It can b
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Inventive idea to combine grave robbing, and mid-1800s medicine with carnivals and cryptids. Dr Spencer Black begins as an assistant grave robber for his father, then becomes a doctor and a gifted surgeon. He becomes fascinated by the idea that mythical creatures existed in the past, and human mutations (fused digits and other unusual bony and soft structures) are remnants of these creatures in our physiology. Spencer Black begins experimenting on animals, fusing different animals' bo ...more
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
A copy of The Resurrectionist was provided to me by Quirk Books for review purposes.

'I have butchered many men. All are innocent and equaled when they are on the table. All are exquisite and grotesque.'

Dr. Spencer Black is a controversial surgeon in the late 1870's who has developed a fascination with the deformities of the human body. It's a gruesome and at times shocking tale of the lengths the good doctor would go to in order to continue his research.

This story defin
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, horror
Morbid. Macabre. Shocking. OK enough adjectives for you. I will warn any readers who are shrinking violets to avoid this book altogether. The Philadelphia's Museum of Medical Antiquities helped in the publishing of this book by providing many of the preserved notes.

It is a shocking and disturbing, depending on your mindset, biography of a deeply brilliant and shockingly disturbed Doctor. Born in Boston in 1851, Dr. Spencer Black and his older brother, Bernard, to renowned surgeon Gregory Black.
S.E. Lindberg
Hybrid Art Forms in Man: At what point does “man” begin and “animal” end?
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black opens with a dense, interesting narrative: the biography of the dark protagonist. Readers tend to get bored with extended narratives, so this introduction is appropriately short. It is a compelling setup, of course, for the illustrations (the latter 2/3rds of book). The author sets the horrific tenor here, enticing the reader to share the excitement that Spencer feels
Heather Faville
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**This book was received as an ARC from Quirk Books.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black is essentially two books in one, the first being The Life of Dr Spencer Black. Believing that mythological creatures are our (human) ancestors, Dr Black proceeds to embark on a journey of scientific discovery. A journey that seems to slowly drive him into madness and ruins any credibility he may have had within his field of study. I will give word of warning, this section is most definitel
Marvelously done anatomical drawings of creatures of myth, but a stale fictional biography.

The Resurrectionist was written for a very specific audience – who that audience is I’m not exactly quite sure. It’s definitely not one that I can think of anyone right on hand to recommend it to. Perhaps those that enjoy fictional biographies, somber crazed scientists but in an overall droll package? This is the second fictional biography/autobiography I’ve read and it was interesting to see how this was
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black is a throwback to the old horror tales of Shelley, Stoker and even dare I say; Lovecraft. Yes I liked it that much. It is actually two books in one. The first book being the story of Dr. Spencer Black and the second being The Codex Extinct Animalia by Dr. Spencer Black. The Codex is a Gray's Anatomy tome to mythical creatures. The drawings of these creatures are detailed and fantastic. The story of Dr. Spencer Black is something altogether ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark and delicious. That may sound odd. but this book was the perfect combination of beautiful writing and dark subject matter that made me savor every page.

Now, that's not to say that there are parts of this book that aren't a bit disturbing. Some of the descriptions of Dr. Black's experiments aren't for squeamish readers (and I will admit that a few times, I skimmed ahead slightly because of this). However, as much as I was repelled by Black at times, I felt compelled to keep reading. I suppo
Joey Woolfardis
This kind of book has long been needed and I hope more mythical and folklore creatures get the same treatment.
fantasy fiction is everything
I`m not sure the creature in this book actually exist or not?But it is an interesting book. ...more
Neko Neha (BiblioNyan)
4.5 wings outta 5!
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review was originally posted on my blog:

I was so incredibly stoked when I received The Resurrectionist - simply put, it is a beautiful and stunning book. The book is broken up into two sections - first, the biography of the fictional anatomist, Dr. Spencer Black and second, a fictional Gray's Anatomy of sorts, filled with beautiful anatomical sketches of mythological creatures. The Codex Extinct Animalia speaks for itself - it is gorgeous. The sketches are professi
Susan (aka Just My Op)
The illustrations and plates in this book are wonderful, and the book is aesthetically lovely. However, the short “biography” of the fictitious Dr. Spencer Black was more than I could handle. At only 65 pages, you'd think I could manage it, but I threw up my hands (and almost my lunch) around page 46.

I'm usually game for something fairly grisly, and didn't have a problem (or so I thought) reading about grave robbers, “resurrectionists,” of the 19th century. Smelly old corpses being exhumed and s
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Interesting book, not like anything I have read before, which does not qualify it as the greatest book I've ever read. Still, there were some things to commend it.

Hudspeth has written a fictional book in the style of 19th century Victorian writers of science fiction and horror or Steam Punk as it is called today. The first half of the book is the supposed letters, diary and biography of a Dr. Spencer Black who has arrived at the conclusion that deformed people, like those displayed at carnivals
Claudia Loureiro
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dead-and-dying
A very spooky read. A shame that it isn't longer. It's not a ''novel'' persay, but rather the retelling of a mad scientist. First half is the story part, the second half is creepy illustrations and descriptions of the various half-human abominations the Resurrectionist believed to have existed.
If you are into horror and cryptozoology, I'd definitely recommend this. If you are looking a more conventional horror novel, then this might not be up your alley. You may however be pleasantly surprised!
haton. (ibookowl)
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
this didn’t disappoint at all ! my only complaint is that it’s short and the author has no further books published, I’d love to read more of him.
usagi ☆ミ
3.5/5 stars!

There's a lot going on in "The Resurrectionist", guys. It's not all pretty sketches of various people and mythical creatures (though those do make up a pretty big chunk of the book), but it's also all about one famous doctor's descent into utter madness. Or is it? Though this obviously draws a lot on historical bits of Americana (the vaudeville/carnie scene of the late 19th century/early 20th century) and Gothic atmospheric books like "Frakenstein", his tale is short, and it kind of
This book takes a potentially fascinating premise and renders it duller than dishwater. Anatomical drawings of mythic creatures, ostensibly assembled and then dissected (huh?) by the fictional surgeon/vivisectionist/taxidermist/lunatic Dr. Spencer Black, lack explanations of the weird details while taking pains to clearly label obvious structures like the clavicle and the sacrum. The introductory biographical sketch of the aforementioned Dr. Black which begins the book could have benefited great ...more
Book Review & Giveaway: When I saw the book cover for The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth, I couldn’t resist it. Once I received my copy and began to look through it, I knew there was a reason Publisher’s Weekly named it a top 10 sci-fi/fantasy pick for Spring 2013. If you’re into dark fantasy with a sci-fi edge then you’re going to be very intrigued by this one. And, thanks to the publisher’s generosity, we’re giving away a finished hardcover copy at htt ...more
Wow, this book creeped me out as much as House of Leaves, but took less pages to do so. I love this style where the fiction is so close to reality, I have to Google to make sure this didn't really happen. The story is believable, noir, and disturbing. The illustrations are beautiful and the way the biography unfolds is mesmerizing. Or at least it was to me. I had a hard time tearing myself away. This isn't a traditional plot, but this is a great book for people into graphic novels, gothic horror ...more
✿ Jenna ✿
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebs, reviewed
I have butchered many men. All are innocent and equaled when they are on the table. All are exquisite and grotesque.

Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Resurrectionist is a wild tale of fiction but could honestly have been real during the time period in which this book is set. Dr. Spencer Black grew up as the son of a grave robber, eventually making his way to the Academy of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. He speculates about there being scientific evidence proving that mythological animals existed and their existence was covered up. After he is shunned from the Academy of Medicine, Dr. Black uproots his family and joins the carnival.

He event
Stefan Slater
When it comes to playing God in the proverbial cobweb-infested laboratory, the one question that science fiction writers tend to focus on is not asking how, but why.

Why should we alter the path laid before us? Can His work be improved, and if so, why should we alter it?

Will He be ticked off if some poor, lowly scientist decides to jolt a corpse back into the realm of the living?

Will there be any consequences (i.e. smiting and/or sizeable lightning bolts hurled from the sky and such) if we decide
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I uncovered The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black whilst "window shopping" at a local gaming & book store the other day. I use the scare quotes only because this book took the day's activity and transformed it from just-looking to I'll-have-this-thank-you-very-much territory. After but a few moments of flipping through it, I knew it needed to be added to my already pretty extensive collection of art anatomy books.

Where this one differs from the rest of my collection is thi
Jack Stark
The first ‘book’ in this is an interesting read. The writing style is reminiscent of the the great gothic horrors of old such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and Jekyll and Hyde. I really enjoyed following Dr Black’s life. His descent into madness, paranoia, and delusions was done really well. The pacing is a little slow in areas.

The second ‘book’ is a print of the fictional Dr Black’s The Codex Extinct Animalia: A Study of the Lesser Known Species of the Animal Kingdom. I thoroughly enjoyed looking
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a fictional biography where for some of the initial chapters you really thought it was a real character? Well, that is what happened to me with this book. About 1/3rd of the way through the first part of the book I stopped reading and searched for "Dr. Spencer Black" on google and wikipedia to get real info on him and found out he was a fictional character. This was a rather new experience for me.

As I am a doctor myself (recently passed) and have the desire to become a surgeon
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
First let me say what a fun book. I got this book through a reviewers mailing list I am on.

A great debut book from author E.B Hudspeth. Written in two parts. Part Frankenstein, part Grey's Anatomy. This makes for a good adventure. It starts out with a biography of Dr. Spencer Black, a doctor, a scientist, a mad man. Obsessed with animals and anatomy he transforms life to make new creatures of all sorts. I thought the biography section was a little short, but it did it's job well. Maybe in later
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*free copy won through Goodreads First Reads contest*

The quality of this book amazed me. To me it felt and looked like an actual reference book or perhaps a college book on anatomy. I know that it is fiction, but it has that appearance. The illustrations in the book are incredibly detailed. Those alone make the book worth getting.

As for the story itself, I really found myself comparing Dr. Black with Dr. Frankenstein from the Mary Shelly classic. Although Dr. Black was not 'creating life' he was
Barry Huddleston
*I received a review copy from Quirk Books

A Nineteenth Century setting with dark macabre scientific experiments — how could I not love it? While the book is dark and creepy with a strong Frankenstein-esque vibe, I don’t think that it is too over the top. Much of the story of Dr. Spencer Black, plays out in our imagination.

Easily the high point of the book has to be the eye-popping illustrations. It’s a book that I plan to keep on my coffee table rather than hide in a bookcase. Sphinxes, sirens,
Amanda Leon
The Resurrectionist is about the unorthodox practices of controversial scientist Dr. Spencer Black. The book starts with a short biography about his life then with Black's magnum opus, The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy about mythological creatures that existed. The biography was dull and monotone considering the subject matter. Author lacks voice since the voice in Black's book sounds exactly the same as his biographer.

The Resurrectionist has a great concept but completely fails in i
May 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debra by: Almeta
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This book needed a LOT more story; it wasn't fleshed out at all and was too short. The characters weren't fleshed out and too much was left to the reader's imagination. (In some ways this was a good thing, because I'm not a fan of detailed descriptions of vivisection, although I don't mind if my horror gets gruesome.) It could have been a very intriguing horror/dark fantasy story. The illustrations deserve a 4-star rating, however. They are amazing. But, I just can't recommend this book, except ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Resurrectionist is a book that had a lot of potential as a book about a scientist who goes mad trying to prove a theory without any supporting evidence, a theme I think has become incredibly relevant, that also explored the medical practices of the 1800's and the view people had of people born with physical defects.

I say potential for while it does dip into these things, the author seems more occupied trying to convince the reader that this fictional doctor was a real person. This makes the
Nadia Popescu
Dec 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been drawn to books that describe moral human depravity and treat the downhill spiral of a man becoming a monster. This book failed to do so. Despite its misleading description, the actual biography was short,fairly disappointing and uneventful.
The drawings were fascinating, but then again, I was expecting a more detailed literary work,rather than a mythical creature atlas.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the more bizarre additions to my bookshelf, but a terribly welcome one, this feels and reads like a forbidden, redacted science teacher's journal who may have gotten in too deep with taxidermy and biology. While the story itself (if one could even call it that) is criminally short and open-ended, the diagrams and sheer detail behind some of these terrifying animals more than makes up for that. It's on that merit alone I gave it four stars. Some may argue this is nothing more than ...more
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I started drawing and painting animals from life, I've wondered about the anatomy of mythical breasts. How can Pegasus support his wings, how can a mermaid function. The mad scientist story is creepy and enthralling, but e pages and pages of perfect anatomical drawings that made me spend whole evenings with this book.
nisie draws
I felt this story was a little generic? Like if you've read Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein you've already read this one. I found the narrative structure of framing the story as a biography of a fictional scientist really interesting, but I don't think it was sufficient to play up the horror elements of the story. This book also suffer from the same failing of 90% of 19th century literature, which is the lack of women and female agency. The only woman character in this book is a long-suffering and l ...more
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmmmm.... Such an interesting story! But I felt this telling left me with a large feeling of lacking and wanting more. The telling of Dr Black's life ends abruptly with out much of a resolution.... like, really abruptly. I did find it intriguing that such a brilliant mind had such a different take on physiology and evolution. I could almost see it from his point of view! But, his testing on live subjects was quite morbid, in an ethical sense. Cause I like morbid. I just wanted more of the stor ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Las ilustraciones son geniales, por el nivel de detalle y el realismo aplicado a la anatomía de criaturas fantásticas. Este es un punto que destaca completamente.
La historia, por otro lado, te plantea un protagonista que tiene muchísimo potencial para ser interesante, pero es tratado de manera muy superficial, en el estilo de una breve biografía complementada con notas escritas por el mismo. Lo disfruté, sí, pero el personaje daba para mucho más.
(PD: No es una buena idea comprarlo en versión kin
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 (บวก 0.5 เพราะ beast's anatomy สวยดีคะ)

ครึงแรกเปน biography ของดร.แบลก นาสนใจวาหมอจะลมทฤษฎีของดารวินยังไงจนใหคนเชือวาพวกสัตวในนิทาน เชน ปีกาซัส ไซเรน เซนทอร มีอยูจริง แลวมารวมสายวิวัฒนาการรวมกับพวกเราไดยังไง แตพอเรืองเริมลน เปนบา lunatic กเริมรูสึกวา ไมไหวละหมอ คนอานเองกเริมไมไหวเหมือนกัน พักกอน เลนฉีกตำรากระจุยเลย ถอนใจ แตเขาใจวาเรืองนีมันเฮอรเรอรแอนดแฟนซีอะเนอะ งันกไปใหสุดเลยจา

สวนครึงหลังคือ mythical creature anatomy + taxo and where to found them ทีดูแคภาพกคุมละ
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“I hear them marvel at my work--my indignant science. I hear them call out in fear of what they see. And there are some gentlemen who doubt what I will tell them. They call me a liar and a charlatan or a quack. But in time the methods of science that I now employ to convince people will surely set them free--alas, this I cannot explain to the angry fools. (Spencer Black)” 5 likes
“They called us resurrectionists, grave robbers.” 0 likes
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