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For the Sake of the Dollars

Lynne Vallone: The original Siamese twins, 12 September 2019

Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History 
by Yunte Huang.
Liveright, 416 pp., £11.99, May 2019, 978 1 63149 545 8
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... In​ 1824, a Scottish merchant called Robert Hunter was sailing down the Mekong when he saw what Yunte Huang describes as a ‘two-headed Hydra-like creature’ climbing into a dinghy. On closer inspection, Hunter was astonished to discover ‘not some amphibious reptile’ but two identical young boys connected at the chest by a thick band of flesh ...

Imps and Ogres

Marina Warner, 6 June 2019

Big and Small: A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies 
by Lynne Vallone.
Yale, 339 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 300 22886 1
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... from us by their deviations from the human standard, especially in size: they have what Lynne Vallone calls ‘extraordinary bodies’ – Polyphemus the Cyclops at one end, Thumbelina at the other. Imps, gnomes, the seven dwarfs in Snow White, ‘le petit Poucet’ or Tom Thumb, and the whole crew of Pucks and fairies are tiny. Such wee folk ...

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