Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Monstrous births,” anomalous newborn bodies, or stillbirths, have produced public and scientific reactions of fear and excited voyeuristic interest from the early modern period to the present in Europe and North America. During this time, the category of “monstrous births” expanded even if the term itself was replaced over time with “defectives,” “congenital malformations,” “birth defects,” and “disabilities.” Particular attention is given here to medicine, mothers of “monstrous births,” twentieth-century moments that brought birth defects to international attention (German measles and thalidomide), and gender. In addition, attention is given to the perspective of contemporary people whose sixteenth- and seventeenth-century predecessors (conjoined twins) were considered “monstrous births” and whose bodies are still preserved in museums.

Keywords: birth defects, defective, mothers’, German measles, thalidomide, conjoined twins, Europe, North America

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.