Monday, September 27, 2010

Robert Knox

Dr Robert Knox
Robert Knox (1791 - 1862) Scottish surgeon and anatomist, considered the greatest teacher of anatomy of his time. Knox was partially blind in one of his eyes, and his face scarred due to smallpox infection during childhood. Knox was a brilliant scholar who stood first in his class throughout his academic schooling. His lectures were very famous for their wit, excellence and flamboyance, and attracted a large number of students. In 1828, he was unwittingly involved in the infamous Burke and Hare murder scandal, and from then onwards his career went downhill and faced considerable difficulties. Though he was not found guilty, or even called to trial, the public was outraged with him, considering him to be an accomplice & deserving of equal punishment as Burke, who was publicly hanged and later dissected. Rhymes such as "Burke's the butcher, and Hare's the thief / And Knox the boy who buys the beef" were very common, and display the obloquy & acrimony against him. Knox also wrote anthropological essays, but they were highly unscientific in their claims of inferiority of African races over the white, although he derided the Europeans for the colonial imperialistic harm they caused in Africa.


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