Twins

Superstitions and Marvels, Fantasies and Experiments

William Viney

Twins

William Viney

Distributed for Reaktion Books

248 pages | 21 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9781789144086 Published May 2021 For sale in North and South America only
Human twins have many meanings and different histories. They have been seen as gods and monsters, signs of danger, death, and sexual deviance. They are taken as objects of wonder and violent repression, the subjects of scientific experiment. Now millions are born through fertility technologies. Their history is often buried in philosophies and medical theories, religious and scientific practices, and countless stories of devotion and tragedy. In this history of superstitions and marvels, fantasies and experiments, William Viney—himself a twin—shows how the use and abuse of twins has helped to shape the world in which we live. This book has been written not just for twins, but for anyone interested in their historical, global, and political impact.
Review Quotes
Geographical
"When Viney writes about twins, he knows whereof he speaks. The author is himself a twin and his meticulously researched narrative of superstitions, fantasies, and experiments reveals the way in which twins have long fascinated us and played a part in shaping our world."
Kenneth Gross, author of “Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life”
“This is a book of probing intelligence, curiosity, and wit, of quickened fascination, and sometimes fear. Viney takes us on an ever-expanding and ever-more intimate journey through our ways of thinking about and with twins, the poetry, science, and theater of twin-ship. He explores what these help us to know of the human, and what they can make us blind to. Twins shifts the ways you see familiar things, and the ways we name the stranger ones.”
Steven Connor, University of Cambridge
“Viney unfolds what he calls the secret history of wonder attaching to twins, in a book that, in its intelligence and sinuous, intent inquisitiveness, is itself a thing of wonder. Ranging from ancient mythology to contemporary biotechnology, Viney explores the dualities that themselves define twins, as figures both of miracle and of menace. Mirroring with its polymorphous subject, Twins is a positive feat of superfetation.”
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