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Blood is life, its complex composition is finely attuned to our vital needs and functions. Blood can also signify death, while 'bloody' is a curse. Arising from the 2021 Darwin College Lectures, this volume invites leading thinkers on the subject to explore the many meanings of blood across a diverse range of disciplines. Through the eyes of artist Marc Quinn, the paradoxical nature of blood plays with the notion of self. Through those of geneticist Walter Bodmer, it becomes a scientific reality: bloodlines and diaspora capture our notions of community. The transfer of blood between bodies, as Rose George relates, can save lives, or as we learn from Claire Roddie can cure cancer. Tim Pedley and Stuart Egginton explore the extraordinary complexity of blood as a critical biological fluid. Sarah Read examines the intimate connection between blood and womanhood, as Carol Senf does in her consideration of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula.

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