English, Department of


Date of this Version



Capuano, Peter. “On Sir Charles Bell’s The Hand, 1833.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web: http://www.branchcollective.org/?ps_articles=peter-capuano-on-sir-charles-bells-the-hand-1833


Published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 3.0).


This essay explores the cultural context in which Sir Charles Bell’s 1833 Bridgewater Treatise was published by focusing on the work as a culmination of his deep religious faith, his Edinburgh anatomical training, and his occupation as a surgeon at the Leeds Infirmary. It argues that The Handwas not merely an extension of Paleyan natural theology but also an important response to the era’s struggle with the grim physical reality of the supersession of manual labor by automatic manufacture.