Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(750 words)

Monstrosities (from the Latin monstrum, “supernatural phenomenon,” “evil omen,” “monster”) were a notably prominent discussion point in early modern scientific literature. This was partly because there was as yet no clear dividing line between popular and serious scientific writing [5]. Moreover, malformations and abnormal births (e.g. conjoined twins, androgyny, missing or extra limbs) were regarded as divine omens, along with other rare or unusual natural phenomena like earthquakes and comets. This was reflected in abundant printed ephemera, especially during th…

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Müller-Wille, Staffan, “Monstrosities”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 01 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_024245>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128

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