Sunday, December 3, 2006

 

The Girl Who Gave Birth To Rabbits

The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: A True Medical Mystery

‘This is the engrossing story of Mary Toft, a young 18th-century Englishwoman who sought to make some money by inserting parts of rabbits into her vagina and pretending to expel them from her uterus. The case was celebrated at the time–popular poems appeared about it, bestsellers were written about it, the king of England ordered an investigation, her contemporaries considered her, as the title puts it, a medical mystery–and she became something of a freak-sensation. Pickover (Time: A Traveller’s Guide, etc.), carefully explores how 18th-century physicians were able to believe in such a medical marvel–even though they were scientifically in a position to have known better–and then finds in this history a cautionary tale appropriate for our own times.’




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