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Loving Dr. Johnson$
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Helen Deutsch

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226143828

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226143859.001.0001

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The Ephesian Matron and Johnson's Corpse

The Ephesian Matron and Johnson's Corpse

Chapter:
(p.155) Chapter Four The Ephesian Matron and Johnson's Corpse
Source:
Loving Dr. Johnson
Author(s):

Helen Deutsch

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226143859.003.0005

This chapter traces the elaborate literary path of Thomas Tyers's allusion to the story of the Ephesian matron in attempted justification of the autopsy of Samuel Johnson. It suggest that both Johnson and the Ephesian matron are balanced precariously between an exemplary embrace of death and a scandalous choice of life. This chapter argues that the Ephesian matron's shocking embrace of appetite is mirrored by Johnson's indecent fear of death and desperate deathbed self-scarification.

Keywords:   Ephesian matron, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Tyers, autopsy, fear of death, self-scarification

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