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On Monsters and Marvels

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  41 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Ambroise Paré, born in France around 1510, was chief surgeon to both Charles IX and Henri III. In one of the first attempts to explain birth defects, Paré produced On Monsters and Marvels, an illustrated encyclopedia of curiosities, of monstrous human and animal births, bizarre beasts, and natural phenomena. Janice Pallister's acclaimed English translation offers a glimpse ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1573)
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118th out of 166 books — 76 voters

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Jan 11, 2009 Jordan rated it really liked it
Brian Jones turned me on to this one. Its a really interesting read, as Paré was chief surgeon to both Charles IX and Henri III. The book chronicles Paré's curiosity with "monsters and marvels," whether human anomalies (Siamese twins, various additional members, lacking arms/fingers etc.), various maladies, anomalies in nature, and the like. Its an interesting glimpse into the philosophical and scientific thinking of the 16th century. I especially enjoyed the long chapter on sea monsters and the ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Preludes rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-culture
Every time I do a history course I always end up buying some of the best books that I’ve used as keepsakes, but also for reference. Seeing As I was doing a dissertation on monsters, I ordered this as one of my primary sources and looking back over it I still love it.

Ambroise Pare was born about 1510 and his work is considered to be one of the most sustained attempts in the sixteenth century to ‘naturalize’ monsters. It was vitally important because it represents the transition that was happening
Mark Bratkowski
Sep 07, 2009 Mark Bratkowski rated it liked it
This book gave me an interesting perspective about how people in the 16th century viewed birth defects and monstrous creatures. I loved the pictures that were included, but couldn't help thinking that most were exaggerated. There is probably no practical reason to pick up this book unless you are interested in early medical science or realistic explanations for monsters. It is not the easiest book to read even though it's only about 180 pages and has many pictures. I'm glad I made it through th ...more
Oct 09, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2013 Keith rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Students, Writers
Recommended to Keith by: Professor
An interesting, insightful look into perceptions of monsters, marvels, and deformities. Blending "scientific" observation with religious morals, this is a very readable text that's a must for anyone who wants a bit more background of the history of science and some fantastical creatures of the imagination, the earth, sea, sky, and celestial sphere.
Celeste Ng
Jun 08, 2007 Celeste Ng rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: weird-science buffs
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a translation from the 17th-century French original. Pare describes all kinds of strange curiosities--such as the woman who give birth to a hundred children at once, or people who changed into animals, or people with horns. Some are medical conditions, some are hoaxes, and some are simply rumors, but it's fascinating stuff.
Sep 13, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
Recommended to Emily by: Higley
Really interesting, and great pictures! Became very repetitive, though, after the first 100 pages or so.
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Ambroise Paré was the official royal surgeon for the Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III.
More about Ambroise Paré...

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