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Emblematic Monsters

Unnatural Conceptions and Deformed Births in Early Modern Europe

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In early modern Europe, monstrous births were significant events that were seen alive by many people, and dissected, embalmed and collected after death. <I>Emblematic Monsters</I> is a social history of monstrous births as seen through popular print, scholarly books and the proceedings of learned societies. Representations of monsters are considered in the context of their roles as wonders and emblems, and studies of the anatomy of monsters are discussed along with contemporary theories of their origin. By approaching accounts of monstrous births not only as a literary form but also as descriptions of real-life cases, similarities between the pre-scientific recording of wonders and the scientific case report can be explored. Most impressively, A.W. Bates draws upon his own experience of diagnosis of birth defects to summarise more than two hundred original descriptions of monstrous births and compare them with modern diagnostic categories. <I>Emblematic Monsters</I> is an up-to-date approach to a classical yet under-explored subject: gruesome, compelling and monstrous.

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