CLOSE
Gray's Anatomy
Gray's Anatomy

Why It Should Have Been Carter and Gray's Anatomy

Gray's Anatomy
Gray's Anatomy

You don’t have to be pre-med (or a fan of medical dramas) to know Gray’s Anatomy. The famous illustrated textbook has been educating medical professionals since its release in 1858. Written by English surgeon Henry Gray, the book has been in continuous print for more than 150 years.

But Gray only wrote it. Without the 1,000+ detailed illustrations within, the book would be nearly useless. That’s where Henry Vandyke Carter comes in. Like Gray, Carter was a surgeon at St. George’s Hospital in London. When Gray approached his colleague about writing a textbook, it took a little coaxing. Carter worried the job would be “too exacting,” but he desperately needed the money and accepted for 10 pounds per month for 15 months. The pair ended up conducting research and dissections for closer to two years. All signs point to the two men sharing the workload equally.

So, why didn’t the title feature both surnames? Originally, the book credited no one in the title. It was simply called Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical, a practical if bland name. The spine, however, identified the book as Gray’s Anatomy, shorthand that helped differentiate it from other popular medical texts of the day, like Quain’s Anatomy and Wilson’s Anatomy. The shorter name eventually stuck.

Make no mistake, though—the abbreviated title that gave sole credit would have delighted Gray, who had a history of accepting accolades for his partner’s work. Before Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical was published, Carter created drawings, paintings, watercolors, and wood engravings for a dissertation Gray wrote on the spleen. Gray failed to credit Carter, even after the essay became highly regarded and even prize-winning.

While it’s tempting to write this off as an unfortunate oversight, the edits Gray made to the title page of Gray’s Anatomy make it unlikely. In an early proof, Gray made a notation on the title page to make Carter’s byline half the size of his own. At one point, likely in an attempt to establish author credibility, the publishers added a line about a prestigious professorship Carter had recently accepted. Gray had it struck.

These days, Carter’s name is now prominently featured on the cover, but decades of damage have already been done. Despite dying of smallpox in 1861 at the young age of 34, Henry Gray secured a spot in medical and literary history. Henry Vandyke Carter died in relative obscurity 36 years later.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
SP Books
arrow
literature
A Limited Edition, Handwritten Manuscript of The Great Gatsby Can Be Yours for $249
SP Books
SP Books

Fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby need to put this on their holiday wish list: The French manuscript publisher SP Books is releasing a deluxe, limited-edition version of Fitzgerald’s handwritten Gatsby manuscript.

A handwritten manuscript of 'The Great Gatsby' open to a page
SP Books

The 328-page, large-format edition is cloth-bound and features an ornamental, iron-gilded cover. The facsimile of Fitzgerald’s original manuscript shows how the author reworked, rewrote, and otherwise altered the book throughout his writing process, changing character’s names (Nick was named “Dud” at one point), cutting down scenes, and moving around where certain information was introduced to the plot, like where the reader finds out how Gatsby became wealthy, which in the original manuscript wasn’t revealed until the end of the book. For Fitzgerald superfans, it's also signed.

A page of the handwritten manuscript with a pen on it
SP Books

The publisher is only selling 1800 copies of the manuscript, so if you’re a lover of literary history, you’d better act fast.

It’s available from SP Books for $249.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
arrow
Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios