Poetry That’s Skin Deep

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An 1852 edition of John Milton’s Poetical Works was bound in the skin of a murderer, George Cudmore. The practice of binding books in human skin—known as anthropodermic bibliopegy—wasn’t as unusual as you might imagine. The Anthropodermic Book Project (yes, it’s a real thing), has so far identified 18 books globally that were bound that way. During the French Revolution, there were rumors that a tannery for human skin existed just outside Paris for this purpose.

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