The Two-headed Boy, and Other Medical Marvels by Jan Bondeson

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



A successor to his popular book A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities, this new collection of essays by Jan Bondeson illustrates various anomalies of human development, the lives of the remarkable individuals concerned, and social reactions to their extraordinary bodies.

Bondeson examines historical cases of dwarfism, extreme corpulence, giantism, conjoined twins, dicephaly, and extreme hairiness; his broader theme, however, is the infinite range of human experience. The dicephalous Tocci brothers and Lazarus Colloredo (from whose belly grew his malformed conjoined twin), the Swedish giant, and the king of Poland's dwarf—Bondeson considers these individuals not as "freaks" but as human beings born with sometimes appalling congenital deformities.

He makes full use of original French, German, Dutch, Polish, and Scandinavian sources and explores elements of ethnology, literature, and cultural history in his diagnoses. Heavily illustrated with woodcuts, engravings, oil paintings, and photographs, The Two-Headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels combines a scientist's scrutiny with a humanist's wonder at the endurance of the human spirit.


The Two Inseparable Brothers, and a Preface

The Hairy Maid at the Harpsichord

The Stone-child

The Woman Who Laid an Egg

The Strangest Miracle in the World

Some Words about Hog-faced Gentlewomen

Horned Humans

The Biddenden Maids

The Tocci Brothers, and Other Dicephali

The King of Poland's Court

Dwarf Daniel Cajanus, the Swedish Giant

Daniel Lambert, the Human Colossus

Cat-eating Englishmen and French Frog-swallowers


About Jan Bondeson

See more books from this Author
Jan Bondeson, M.D., also holds a Ph.D. in experimental medicine. He is the author of "A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities" & other works.
Published June 1, 2000 by Cornell University Press. 320 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Two-headed Boy, and Other Medical Marvels

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

To this day, human fascination with so-called freaks, those unexplainable ""jokes of nature,"" as Bondeson calls them, has not abated.

| Read Full Review of The Two-headed Boy, and Other...

Project MUSE

Jan Bondeson is a London physician whose interest in proven and legendary human physical peculiarities began while in medical school and stimulated him to develop a substantial collection of antiquarian illustrations of such phenomena.

| Read Full Review of The Two-headed Boy, and Other...

Project MUSE

The Two-Headed Boy is the third book of essays by British physician Jan Bondeson on what we might term medical and natural history oddities or curiosities, all published by Cornell University Press.

| Read Full Review of The Two-headed Boy, and Other...

Reader Rating for The Two-headed Boy, and Other Medical Marvels

An aggregated and normalized score based on 7 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review