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House of Anansi Press


The Stuff of Life The CBC Massey Lectures

Written by Lawrence Hill

Published September 28, 2013 | ISBN 9781770893245
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General

Cover of Blood

Regular price $16.95 CAD

272 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book


The Stuff of Life

The CBC Massey Lectures

Lawrence Hill

Selected for The Globe 100 Books in 2013.

With the 2013 CBC Massey Lectures, bestselling author Lawrence Hill offers a provocative examination of the scientific and social history of blood, and on the ways that it unites and divides us today.

Blood runs red through every person’s arteries and fulfills the same functions in every human being. The study of blood has advanced our understanding of biology and improved medical treatments, but its cultural and social representations have divided us perennially. Blood pulses through religion, literature, and the visual arts. Every time it pools or spills, we learn a little more about what brings human beings together and what pulls us apart. For centuries, perceptions of difference in our blood have separated people on the basis of gender, race, class, and nation. Ideas about blood purity have spawned rules about who gets to belong to a family or cultural group, who enjoys the rights of citizenship and nationality, what privileges one can expect to be granted or denied, whether you inherit poverty or the right to rule over the masses, what constitutes fair play in sport, and what defines a person’s identity.

Blood: The Stuff of Life is a bold meditation on blood as an historical and contemporary marker of identity, belonging, gender, race, class, citizenship, athletic superiority, and nationhood.

About the Author

Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill is an award-winning Canadian writer whose novel The Book of Negroes was a national bestseller. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Visit Lawrence Hill's website:

Awards and Praise
With compelling stories from history, science and his own family, Lawrence Hill shows the physical and metaphorical value of this liquid that we all share, yet which is so often used to divide us.
  • Commended Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, 2013