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Monstrous Births in the Middle Ages

Monstrous Births in the Middle Ages

Lecture by Tim Wingard

Given online by the Wellcome Collection on November 17, 2020

Overview: Tim Wingard explores medieval theories of embryology and the concept of the hybrid human/animal monster. This talk focuses on the late-13th-century medical text ‘De secretis mulierum’ (‘On the Secrets of Women’). ‘De secretis mulierum’ was a highly popular work, and was copied into over 80 manuscripts. Its vivid portrayal of monstrous births reflected late-medieval understandings of the natural world, gynaecology and the science of sexuality. The talk focuses on two manuscripts (MS 11 and MS 117) and several early printed editions of the treatise held in the Wellcome Collection.

Tim Wingard is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York. His research explores late medieval European literary and scientific representations of animals, nature and sexuality. You can learn more about Tim’s work on his website or follow him on Twitter @TSWingard

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Top Image: The man-ox of Wicklow – British Library Royal 13 B VIII   f. 19

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