Skip to main content

On Monsters and Marvels

Ambroise Paré, born in France around 1510, was chief surgeon to both Charles IX and Henri III. In one of the first attempts to explain birth defects, Paré produced On Monsters and Marvels, an illustrated encyclopedia of curiosities, of monstrous human and animal births, bizarre beasts, and natural phenomena. Janice Pallister’s acclaimed English translation offers a glimpse of the natural world as seen by an extraordinary Renaissance natural philosopher.

256 pages | 91 b&w illustrations | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1982

Biological Sciences: Natural History, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Morphology

History of Science

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction by Janis L. Pallister
On Monsters and Marvels
1. The Causes of Monsters
2. An Example of the Glory of God
3. An Example of the Wrath of God
4. An Example of Too Great a Quantity of Seed
5. On Women Who Carry Several Children during One Pregnancy
6. On Hermaphrodites or Androgynes
7. Memorable Stories about Women Who Have Degenerated into Men
8. An Example of Lack in the Quantity of Seed
9. An Example of Monsters That Are Created through the Imagination
10. An Example of the Narrowness or the Smallness of the Womb
11. An Example of Monsters That Are Formed, the Mother Having Remained Seated Too Long, Having Had Her Legs Crossed, or Having Bound Her Belly Too Tight While She Was Pregnant
12. An Example of Monsters Who Are Created, the Mother Having Received Some Blow or Fall, Being Great with Child
13. An Example of Monsters That Are Created by Hereditary Diseases
14. An Example of Monstrous Things Which Have Occurred in Accidental Illnesses
15. Of Stones That Are Engendered in the Human Body
16 On Certain Monstrous Animals That Are Born Abnormally in the Bodies of Men, Women, and Small Children
17. On Certain Strange Things That Nature Repels through Her Infinite Providence
18. An Example of Several Other Strange Things
19. An Example of Monsters Created through Corruption and Putrefaction
20. An Example of the Mixture or Mingling of Seed
21. An Example of the Artifice of Wicked Spital Beggars

22. The Imposture of a Woman Beggar Who Pretended to Have a Canker on Her Breast
23. The Imposture of a Certain Beggar Who Was Counterfeiting a Leper
24. About a Hedge-Whore Beggar-Woman Pretending to Be Sick with Saint Fiacre’s Disease, and a Long Thick Gut Made by Trickery Came out of Her Bum
25. About a Fat Wench from Normandy, Who Pretended to Have a Snake in Her Belly
26. An Example of Monstrous Things Done by Demons and Sorcerers
27. About Those Who Are Possessed of Demons, Who Speak in Various Parts of Their Bodies
28. How Demons Inhabit Quarries or Mines
29. How Demons Can Deceive Us
30. An Example of Several Diabolical Illusions
31. On the Art of Magic
32. On Certain Strange Illnesses
33. On Incubi and Succubi According to Physicians
34. On "Point-Knotters"
Other Stories Not off the Subject
35. Concerning Marine Monsters
36. On Flying Monsters
37. On Terrestrial Monsters
38. On Celestial Monsters
39. [On Natural Disasters]
Appendix 1. Items from the Discourse on the Unicorn
Appendix 2. From The Book of Tumors
Appendix 3. From The Sicke Womans Private Looking-Glasse
Suggested Identifications

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press