The Poetical Works of John Milton Bound in Human Skin, on Display in England Library
Hung in 1830, part of murderer George Cudmore’s sentence was that his body was to be dissected after he died. For some reason, though, some of his skin was flayed, tanned, then used to bind an 1852 copy of The Poetical Works of John Milton. The skin-covered book is currently kept at the Westcountry Studies Library in Exeter, instead of in some kind of horror movie. The book went on show to the public for the first time yesterday, as part of a Local History Day. Creepily, an inscription in the front of the book says whose skin the book is bound in, and what his crime was, which was murdering his wife by poisoning.
Interestingly, though binding books in human skin is fairly uncommon, there’s a name for the practice: Anthropodermic bibliopegy. Apparently, books bound in human skin don’t look any different from books bound in regular leather, so, you know that hardcover book you read a few chapters in the other night before bed? Yeah. That could’ve been a dude.
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