Two by Two: A Timeline of Twins

One of CMH’s Postdoctoral Research Fellows has had an article published in Cabinet, a quarterly journal of arts and culture based in New York. The piece revives the idea of the timeline but takes a subject that is rarely thought to be simply chronological: twins. In a post on his blog, William explains how twins might be thought to form and be informed by a history

that can draw [twins] together, one that stretches far beyond the formulation of the scientific disciplines such as embryology, psychiatry and behavioural genetics, with which they are now so readily associated. The reward of a cultural history approach is to show how twins were understood in times where biological knowledge had yet to be tested, revised and disseminated in the way it is today.

The Cabinet article covers the significance of twins in ancient myth, theology, medicine, law and art, and is illustrated with twin images found on ancient coins, in mediaeval manuscripts, Renaissance paintings and 19th-century photography. The journal issue can be purchased here.

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