Reflections in Gold and Mud: Monstrosity, Agency, and Stability in Early Modern Europe

Author’s Note: This is another essay I wrote for a graduate-level history class back in 2005. Along with my other essay on the printing press and the weaponized pamphlet, this paper worked as another foundational piece for my master’s thesis on Martin Luther’s monster interpretation. The foci here involve early modern Europe – roughly 1492 to 1700ish – and the concept of monstrosity. To draw parallels to today’s foetid political environment, both the Left and the Right have specific targets to demonize, otherize, and monster-ize, whether it is Big Business, Big Data, the Illegal Immigrant, or the Dangerous Brown or Black Person. The individual and/or group is abstracted into a demonic Other, a vessel to pour one’s hatred, fears, and prejudices, along with lust and envy. During the time I wrote this it seemed like every homophobic conservative – especially the virulent fire-and-brimstone type – was exposed as a homosexual. The biracial child of racist scumbag Strom Thurmond was also recent news at the time. And who can forget politicians on both sides of the aisle condemning illegal immigrants – unless they’re employing them off the books.

​Introduction: The Monster and the Barbarian

“Form ever follows function.” – Louis Henri Sullivan

Zakiya Hanafi, in her book, The Monster in the Machine, asserts, “In the jumbled limbs and motley order of the body, the monster threatens to destabilize all order, to break down all hierarchies.”1 Is it true that destabilization actually occurs? And how stable are the hierarchies (religious, political, scientific) that the monstrous supposedly threatens? “During the century and a half between 1559 and 1715, Europe was in a nearly constant of war. … For nearly a century, from 1559 to 1648, the common denominator was Protestant-Catholic religious strife.”2 From Calvin to Copernicus, the established order of the Catholic political hegemony and the cosmos were being called into question.

The concept of homo duplex – being “the union, incurably discordant, of earthly body and immortal soul”3 – dominated “medieval and, in due course, Reformation and Counter-Reformation thinking.”4 So even the singular person was subject to the instabilities of the theological interpretations of the three major facets of identity: the self, the soul, and the body.

With internal and external conflict occurring, where does the monster fit in this landscape of religious warfare, scientific discovery, and economic expansion? Hanafi’s definition of the barbarian, another destabilizing force, when placed next to the monster adds another element of opposition. The barbarian was “not one of us”, while the monster was “nonhuman.”5 These definitions originated from classical Greece and the monster itself “did not signify a deformed being, but a sign in the same category as portentum, prodigium, and ostentum, terms belonging to the divinatory sciences, only migrating later through association to the natural sciences.”6

By the late Renaissance, “Monsters serv[ed] as amusing decorations and grotesques became garden ornaments”7 and by the Baroque period “the boundaries of the natural and the artificial”8 became an area of play for aristocrats and royalty. The concepts of play and status will be the two areas of exploration in this paper. The monster must be reconsidered, depending on what level of society was engaged, and not be turned into a caricature, an absolute, terminal Other. The examples are meant to call into question the oppositional restrictions of othering. Monsters become destabilizing forces, not because of an “either/or” relationship, but because of an “and/both” relationship to the audience.9 Grosz asserts,

“The freak is an object of simultaneous horror and fascination because, in addition to whatever deformities or abilities he or she exhibits, the freak is an ambiguous being whose existence imperils categories and oppositions dominant in social life. Freaks are those human beings who exist outside and in defiance of the structure of binary opposition that govern our basic concepts and modes of self-definition.”10

Because of their non-binary status, this makes freaks sites of simultaneity. Instead of existing in an “either/or” position, freaks exist in an “and/both” position. This simultaneity will arise when spectators evaluate both their extraordinary bodies and concomitantly, their extraordinary positions in society due to their bodies. Stephen Jay Gould states “Our minds tend to work by dichotomy—that is, by conceptualizing complex issues as “either/or” pairs, dictating a choice of one extreme or the other, with no middle ground (or golden mean) available for any alternative solution.”11 Because of their simultaneous status, the freakish or the monstrous disrupts the site of convergence. But while the convergence between the spectator and the spectacle may destabilize the human tendency to dichotomize, the site itself may actually become more stable than the surrounding area because of the monstrous presence at the site (Cf. Bartholomew Fair in England and the chaotic events of the English Civil War, Protectorate, and Restoration).

The monstrous12 will be examined in two sites of convergence: the princely court and the marketplace. At these two sites, the issue of agency will also be explored. Protocol and space will be factors, determining how the historical agent acts. All of these multifarious factors relate to Louis Sullivan’s famous quotation, especially considering that court dwarfs and exhibiting monsters in the marketplace function because they possess physical deformities.

​Reflections in Gold: Monsters in the Princely Court

Throughout early modern Europe, the nobility exhibited the extraordinary: lavishly decorated palaces, curiosity cabinets, and human beings. These three cases, Petrus Gonzales, the Brothers Colloredo, and Nicholas Ferry are extraordinary human beings: the parasitic twin, the excessively hairy, and the court dwarf. Their treatment in the constellation of royal courts13 reflects how monstrosity could become a site of simultaneity, both privileged and degrading.

Petrus Gonzales: Henri II’s Hairy Prodigy

Figure 1: Petrus Gonzales with family. From Bondeson.

In 1557, King Henri II of France received a curiosity from the Canary Islands. The curiosity was Petrus Gonzales (Figure 1), who was born with excessive hair on his face and body.14 “Henri II ordered that he should be taught Latin and given a good education, since the king wanted to find out whether such a boy was at all educable.”15 The treatment of Gonzales reflects how the French royal court reacted to extreme bodily difference. The education was not simply an act of royal benevolence, but also a social experiment. The presumption during this time period was that “monstrous races … inhabited parts of Asia and Africa …” which derived from “medieval mythology that had been originated by the writings of Pliny.”16 Gonzales was seen of as material proof that “wild men” existed and Henri II chose to “civilize” him.17

When Gonzales reaches maturity, he was allowed to choose a wife. In 1573 he married “a young French lady” and lived in “a cave … with his entire family, like some bizarre ornamental hermit, in one of the royal parks.”18 He spent most of his time in the royal court of Fountainebleau “where the king showed him to visiting dignitaries like some trained dog or monkey.”19 Gonzales inhabits a peculiar orbit of status within the royal court, simultaneously privileged and degraded.

As one of Henri II’s favorites, Gonzales placed himself very close to the person of the King. The most sought after goal of the courtier was access to the King. Adamson explains how proximity and intimacy was essential to the operations of the court government.20 While Gonzales occupied a space that gave him immediate access to the king, he was beneath any members of the aristocracy who gazed at him. But his status existed in a rare space that allowed him to be educated and marry, two privileges given to humanity not animals. Gonzales also had a son and a daughter, both with excessive hair.21 To the aristocrats who viewed him, he was seen as an uncivilized version of man, closer to the animal than to the monarch’s “public ‘godliness’.”22

During the reign of Henri II, “three rival aristocratic factions—the Guises, the Montmorencys, and the Bourbons—began to jockey for control of royal policy.”23 By the time Gonzales left France, the country had been ruled by three kings, all “feeble and neurotic”24 and “The country dissolved into anarchy and from anarchy into downright war.”25 And while Gonzales’s presence was privileged, Henri II “organized a special court to try Huguenots and have them burned at the stake”.26 When set against a disintegrating relationship between monarch and aristocracy, coupled with religious persecution of a small, but influential religious group, Gonzales’s position simply as “court prodigy” takes on an entirely different meaning.

What is this new meaning? Henri II wanted him taught Latin for other reasons besides social benevolence. Even though Gonzales inhabited a space outside of the ordinary social hierarchy, one can safely assume he was baptized and married under the auspices of the Catholic Church.

Because of his extraordinary body and as a practicing Catholic, Gonzales and his family traveled to Europe in 1581 and 1582, visiting the courts of Flanders and Bavaria. Both Flanders and Bavaria had Catholic governments.27 Because of their presence in the aristocratic social strata, this provided the opportunity for the Gonzales family to have their portraits painted.28

In the pictures, the family dressed in contemporary clothes and strikes poses common for the time. Their only feature of difference, exempting the non-hirsute wife of Gonzales, is their excessive hairiness. What unsettled their audience was not the hair per se, but where the hair was located and on whom. While Petrus and his son had an exaggerated amount of hair, the effect became amplified on his daughter.

Because of their privileged position as court curiosities and as continental travelers, coupled with their status as full members of the Catholic Church, gives the Gonzales Family an almost impossible position: members of a privileged aristocratic social sphere and as cryptic spectacles. To their audiences, they represented a rare combination of both the animal and the human.

The Brothers Colloredo: My Other, My Self

Figure 2 Lazarus and Joannes Baptista Colloredo. From Bondeson.

With the Gonzales Family inhabiting an area that was simultaneously animal and human, the Colloredo brothers represent another type of destabilizing character, blurring the boundaries between the individual and the Other (Figure 2). The brothers were born on March 20, 1617, with Lazarus the larger twin, and Joannes Baptista the smaller. Joannes had “three fingers on each hand, [and] six toes on the sole foot”29. Being a parasite to his brother, Joannes “ate nothing and was fed from the nourishment taken by Lazarus.”30 Although Lazarus’s malformed brother lacked a number of bodily functions, Joannes had the sense of touch, and “moved his arms, and frothy saliva dribbled from his mouth.”31

As in the case of Petrus Gonzales, both brothers were baptized.32 Although similar to the Gonzales case, the malformed brother, although monstrous, was a member inside the social system. Gonzales, as a representative “wild man”, had resided outside of the system. With baptism, he gained partial admittance into French society. With Joannes Colloredo, it presents a different set of issues. Because the Catholic Church baptized Joannes, he was seen as a separate entity, with full rights within the religious system, even though he appeared incomplete or unfinished. The discordant union of homo duplex became a vulgar caricature with the Brothers Colloredo.

The Colloredo Brothers possessed the social status “of above-average breeding.”33 This level of privilege allowed Lazarus Colloredo to have better medical treatment34, although it made matters complicated in the areas of law and entertainment. If a peasant had given birth to twins with this physical deformity, they might have died at an earlier age or have been abandoned. Stone states that in rural England in the early seventeenth century “between a quarter and a third of all children of English peers and peasants were dead before they reached the age of fifteen.”35 The conditions in rural Italy could not have been much better.

The Colloredo Brothers toured extensively, beginning in Rome in 1617. They also had an audience with King Charles I and Queen Henrietta. They toured France in 1638 and returned to England, visiting Norwich on December 21, 1639. In 1640, they visited Gdansk, Norway, and returned again to the British Isles in 1642. In 1645, they were exhibited and seen by Danish anatomist Thomas Bartholin. Bartholin’s description remains the best source, due to its length and detail, of the Colloredo Brothers. In August 1645 the Colloredo Brothers were exhibited in Strasbourg, France. They toured Italy in 1646, then recordings of them vanish, because they died or retired.36

Travel, one of the most difficult aspects of monstrosity, was a carefully choreographed affair. The Gonzales Family could not hide their hirsuteness, but Lazarus hid his brother by placing his cloak over Joannes.37 As they traveled between Britain and continental Europe, their most extensive touring occurred during the Franco-Swedish stage of the Thirty Years’ War (1630-1648).38 With Central and Western Europe caught in a prolonged and complicated war full of death and destruction, Colloredo entertained audiences; giving the audience a respite to stare at what John Spalding called “this gryte wark of God”39.

As an entertainer, “Colloredo combined the roles of freak and showman: he applied for a license to show his monster, advertised it well, and spoke courteously to the audience.”40 The need for Lazarus to apply for a license to exhibit himself positions him in a situation where the promoter and spectacle are fused together. As a spectacle, self and Other, while physically different, occupy the same social space.

Because of Joannes malformed condition and Lazarus’s exhibition, the question of agency becomes important in where the brothers fit in the spectrum of status. With his upper class pedigree, Lazarus traveled with a pair of servants who made his entrances dramatic.41 Compared to his servants, where did Lazarus place his brother? And how did the audience position Joannes compared to the servants? His servants had bodies more complete than Joannes, but were not born into a special social stratum that privileged the Colloredo Brothers as superiors to the servants. Their higher status acted as insurance against ostracism and exploitation if they had been of lower birth.

Nicholas Ferry: Otherness Writ Small

Figure 3 Nicolas Ferry. From Bondeson.

Nicolas Ferry, alias Bébé, was one of the most famous court dwarves.42 Like Petrus Gonzales and the Colloredo Brothers, Ferry (Figure 3) became a court favorite. His parents “were not very poor people, nor were they particularly wealthy.”43 In November 1741, when he was one month old, he was “baptized … with much ceremony.”44 Nicolas later became court dwarf to King Stanislaus Leszynski of Poland in 1747.45 King Stanislaus himself had been deposed, then had the monarchy restored, then abdicated, then had his status reduced to Duke of Lorraine from 1737 to 1766.46 Bondeson characterizes his life as one spent in “affluent idleness in his French duchies.”47

Nicolas became part of the ducal court as a commodity. Stanislaus gave Nicolas to Queen Katarina Opalinska as a birthday present and she in turn gave Nicolas his nickname of Bébé (literally “Baby”).48 As in the case of Petrus Gonzales, he “receive[d] a superior education”49. Unlike Gonzales, who could speak eloquent Latin, Nicolas remained uneducated.

Stanislaus gave Nicolas lodging in a “wooden dwarf house … in a corner of one of the great halls of the Château de Lunéville” but “had a much higher standing at court than the king’s favorite dogs.”50 The house had multiple rooms with entrances small enough to prevent dogs from entering.51

Because of Ferry’s extraordinary status, the King allowed him to break rules and engage in temper tantrums, capitalizing on his resemblance to a child. While his appearance allowed his to act differently, as always for personal amusement, he dressed in elegant clothes like a normal courtier.52 This miniaturized version of court life also appeared in the Russian court.53 Hughes explains how during the wedding of Tsar Peter’s niece Anna Ioannovna to the Duke of Courland, “the tsar promoted the dwarfs’ wedding as a burlesque commentary on the duke’s nuptials of state.”54 In this specific case, the court using the dwarf wedding as parody also mirrored the Russian court’s parody of the French court. Imitation abounds in these affairs of state.

The status of the court dwarf is a tricky act of simultaneity; both court “favorite”—a courtier of extremely high status with exceptional privileges regarding access to the monarch—and a human pet. It is a position of parody and privilege.

​Reflections in Mud: Monsters in the Marketplace

The monstrosities in fairs had an altogether different audience, usually peasants and people in lower classes, as well as elite onlookers. The public’s concept of entertainment was framed not as a diversion amidst idle luxury, but as a manifestation of pre-Christian mythology and a respite from harsh economic conditions. Bartholomew Fair in England became one of the most famous of these monster fairs. While these fairs were popular throughout medieval Europe, scientific and clerical criticism became directed at these venues. This criticism eventually blew back upon the aristocracy, not wishing to be seen as gullible and ignorant as their subjects.55

Bartholomew Fair: The Monstrous in the Popular Imagination

Bartholomew Fair (1133 – 1855) had a history that spans nearly 700 years, stretching from the early medieval era to the early Victorian era. The Fair was integral in understanding the general phenomenon of monster fairs in the lower echelons of society in early modern Europe. The fair was “chartered … in 1133 by a monk named Rayer, who had been a court jester to Henry I.”56 The Fair was located beyond Alder Gate in West Smithfield and was celebrated on the eve of St. Bartholomew’s Day in the month of August at the Priory of St. Bartholomew.57 The priory functioned as a hospital and later as a place of pilgrimage. Rayer himself allegedly performed miracles, but the church denounced them.58

St. Bartholomew himself is referred to as “The enigmatic apostle”59. Although he was the patron saint of merchants, tanners, and leather-workers, his invocation for diseases and sparse biographical information60 make him a de facto saint for people with deformities, since medical knowledge regarding the causality of these deformities remained sparse or non-existent.

From its modest beginnings, Bartholomew Fair developed into “a sort of mecca for monsters, a place of pilgrimage whose aura of the miraculous survived even after the dissolution of the monasteries.”61 Its special status as a miraculous site allowed it to avoid the silencing of theaters during the Commonwealth.62 During the English Civil War (1641-1649), the Commonwealth (1653-1659), and the Stuart Restoration under King Charles II (1660-1685), England became destabilized with a political implosion, a king’s decapitation, dictatorship, and a dynastic return; Bartholomew Fair remained a constant. Hanafi’s assertion that monsters were destabilizing forces is only credible from an anatomical point of view. From an institutional point of view, the monsters made Bartholomew Fair a stable venue, even with the decades of struggle and political conflict.

The Fair would later become threatened, not from political censure, but from criticism of the audience. The alliance of the scientific and religious would work to de-legitimize the Fair, with consequences that would strongly influence the princely courts.

Strange Bedfellows: The Preacher and The Scientist

Stephen Jay Gould asks “Why should we read these events as a tale of religion versus the modern secular state rather than a clash between two political powers, each using the rhetorical tools at its command?”63 As exhibition of extraordinary bodies continued into the early modern era, the fairs met with virulent criticism. The criticism emanated from both religious and scientific circles. While the agendas of the preacher and the philosopher-scientist were not identical, their target was: the audience.

As Semonin asserts “From the early days of the English Renaissance, there had been a growing criticism of the gullibility of the penny audience, the “Mob”, which patronized the monster shows.”64 In sixteenth century France, Antoine Paré wrote De Monstres et prodiges (1579), one of the earliest attempts to ‘naturalize’ monsters.65 As a surgeon, Paré sought to medicalize monstrosity, conjoined fantastic images with realistic medical diagnosis.66

In the seventeenth century, Francis Bacon’s categorized monstrous births as preter-natural. This new category worked towards both de-mythificiation and “the establishment of a secular yardstick of credulity of those who still attended the shows in the marketplace.”67 While Bacon worked to erode the credibility of the monster shows—they could not be monsters if they existed in nature—David Hume caricaturized the eighteenth century appetite for the marvelous as the hallmark of the ‘ignorant and barbarous.’68 Hume presumed that what the audience saw made no sense, therefore the audience, like barbarians, made no sense.

Hume, as a skeptic of religion, had other members of English clergy joining him in his condemnation of the monster shows. The other principle groups condemning the monster show, at least in early modern England, were Protestant preachers.69 Religion joined science in its quest to expunge the belief that man was connected to nature. The story of the Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden symbolizes man’s separation from nature.70 Semonin characterizes the early modern era as a battleground against popular beliefs.71

While philosopher-scientists saw these fairs as frivolous, “the Puritan attacks … [were] often shrouded … in shame and fear.”72 Camille Paglia emphasizes that “The background from which and against which our ideas of God are formed, nature remains the supreme moral problem.”73 In the Judeo-Christian cosmology, man was created in God’s image. Throughout the history of Christianity, the relationship between the body and the spirit remained problematic. The nature of Christ created numerous rifts between believers, with the ratio of the spirituality and the physicality of Christ becoming a divisive concept.

Paglia states, “Hebrew cosmogony, in the polemical poetry of Genesis, is lofty in its claims. Creation is rational and systematic. The evolution of forms proceeds majestically, without carnage or cataclysm.”74 The Protestant clergy wanted to shame people away from seeing the monster shows, since the monsters openly mocked and parodied God’s creation (Cf. dwarf weddings in pricely courts). But the audience was not seeing this from the clergy’s point of view, a viewpoint dominated by dogma, intellectual exercise, and veneration of The Word (Logos). The audience saw the monster shows as a re-affirmation of ancient mythologies and as an escape from their daily trials and tribulations.75

With philosophers deriding the audience as gullible and ignorant and the clergy using fear and shame for the same end, the popularity of the monster shows eventually eroded. By 1849, Bartholomew Fair had been reduced “to a little more than a dozen gingerbread stalls”76 but was “reborn” in the guise of Phineas T. Barnum’s American Museum, which showcased monstrosities, curiosities, and humbug to enthusiastic audiences.

The Monstrous Audience: Spectator and Spectacle

At its zenith, Bartholomew Fair and other venues—most notably inns and taverns—exhibited the monstrous in an era of extreme political instability, whether it was religious wars on the European Continent or the devastation of the English Civil War, Protectorate, and Restoration. “Barasch points out …[that] these modern critics ignore the popular tradition, the idea that “medieval frivolity” was man’s attempt to effect a ‘secret liberation’ from his sense of helplessness and horror.”77 Dunn explains how warfare forced “The exposed peasantry … to run away. Agricultural collapse caused famine. The total population loss was staggering”78

Amidst this carnage and chaos, the fair became a site of stability. Semonin discusses the concept of the “anticke” which is a quality of simultaneity, possessing characteristics of the grotesque and the comic.79 The element of humor acted as a healing agent on the traumatized populace. The Devil was seen as more of a comic figure than as a diabolical figure. The Protestant clergy would have wanted a diabolical devil, but pagan traditions were too deeply rooted in the populace.80 Other comedic genres included the “droll” where dwarfs, trained animals, and people with physical anomalies performed.81 It should be noted that the humor was not derogatory, since the actors represented a physical manifestation of older myths that had been buried by the importation of Christianity. The Protestant clergy’s criticism of the monster shows became a power play for establishing spiritual supremacy over paganism.82

Camille Paglia sums up this power play eloquently: “Historiography’s most glaring error has been its assertion that Judeo-Christianity defeated paganism.”83 Paglia’s criticism stems from popular culture’s adoption of pre-Christian forms, especially those present in the monster show, while Roy Porter examines the Hellenization of Christianity along metaphysical lines.84 Even with the Protestant clergy attacking the monster show audience for gullibility, the stability of the Christianity itself is called into question.

With the audience accused of gullibility and ignorance, the practice of exhibiting human curiosities became less popular. The aristocracy did not want to have the same charges leveled against them. The rise of science as a dominant framework also reconfigured these individuals with extraordinary bodies as biological errors. By the time of Darwin and modern evolutionary theory, the aristocracy sought to distance themselves from the mob’s acceptance of monsters.

Semonin affirms, “In many respects, Bartholomew Fair was a theatrical extravaganza in which the monsters were normal and their extraordinary form became part of the spectacle of the unnatural, the grotesque, and the lewd.”85 The normalcy of the monsters was because of their link to the older mythical traditions of the populace. It survived during political instability because of the corporeal instability of the performers. This was something that could always be depended on. In Europe, where politics ravaged and decimated the population, the monster shows were the area of calm.

​Conclusion

The monstrous in early modern Europe represents a site of simultaneity, either in the protected enclaves of ancien régime courts or the open-air church festivals. The simultaneity originated not so much in the monster itself, but in the audience’s inability to define it. Definitions are meant to separate that which is being examined from the infinite surroundings. The negative connotations of freak and monster represent this dilemma, although people with physical deformities were also given the positive epithet of prodigy. But all labels end up becoming futile attempts to place a phenomenon that is beyond conventional description into some framework that makes sense. The labels freak and monster are linguistic endeavors to create conventions where none had existed before.

The individual cases of Petrus Gonzales, the Colloredo Brothers, and Nicolas Ferry represent an attempt to examine their lives from various perspectives. These perspectives included medical, artistic, historical, political, and religious viewpoints, each perspective part of a more complete account of the individual. Because of their simultaneity, these people were both accepted and reviled, both full members of the Church and curious commodities. They existed in a separate sphere, privileged and degraded at the same time, profiting and a victim of their extraordinary body. This simultaneity proved remarkably stable in the age of religious conflict in early modern Europe.

The case of Bartholomew Fair and the other monster fairs complements the cases of the court curiosities. Instead of idle amusement, the monster shows allowed the peasant audience a refuge and a release from the travails and torments of life. The monsters also were seen as material representations of mythical creatures and personalities. Pre-Christian beliefs still resided in the monster shows as pop cultural residue. The criticism by the Protestant clergy and the philosopher-scientists eventually diminished the popularity of the monster shows, leading to less demand for human curiosities in the princely courts.

​Works Cited

Adamson, John. The Princely Courts of Europe: 1500-1750. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999.

Bondeson, Jan. The Two-Headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.

Dennett, Andrea Stultman. “The Dime Museum Freak Show Reconfigured as Talk Show” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, Rosemarie Garland Thomson, editor. New York: New York University Press.

Dunn, Richard S. The Age of Religious Wars: 1559-1715, Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1979.

Fiedler, Leslie. Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.

Gould, Stephen Jay. Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life. New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999.

Grosz, Elizabeth. “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, Rosemarie Garland Thomson, editor. New York: New York University Press.

Hanafi, Zakiya. The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of Scientific Revolution. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

Hughes, Lindsey. “The Courts of Moscow and St Petersburg c. 1547-1725” in The Princely Courts of Europe: 1500-1750, John Adamson, editor . London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999.

Jones, Alison. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Saints. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1994.

Kinder, Herman and Werner Hilgemann. The Anchor Atlas of World History, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the French Revolution, translated by Ernest A. Menze. New York: Anchor Books Doubleday, 1974.

Morby, John E. Dynasties of the World. Oxford: Oxford, 2002.

Olalquiaga, Celeste. The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of The Kitsch Experience with Remarkable Objects of Art and Nature, Extraordinary Events, Eccentric Biography and Original Theory plus Many Wonderful Illustrations Selected by the Author. New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.

Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.

Porter, Roy. Flesh in the Age of Reason: The Modern Foundations of Body and Soul. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004.

Room, Adrian. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable: Millenium Edition. London: Cassell Publishing Ltd., 1999.

Semonin, Paul. “Monsters in the Marketplace” in Freakery, 69-81

Stone, Lawrence. The Family, Sex and Marriage: In England 1500-1800. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1977.

1 Zakiya Hanafi, The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of Scientific Revolution (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 2-3.

2 Richard S. Dunn, The Age of Religious Wars: 1559-1715, Second Edition (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1979), 1.

3 Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason: The Modern Foundations of Body and Soul (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004), 37

4 Ibid.

5 Hanafi, The Monster in the Machine, 2.

6 Ibid., 3.

7 Ibid., 5.

8 Ibid., 5.

9 Elizabeth Grosz, “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, Rosemarie Garland Thomson, editor, (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 56-57.

10 Ibid., 57. It should be noted that the terms monster and freak, while possibly representing the same human agent, do not have the same meanings. One of the major issues with this area of study is finding a workable definition and label for discussion. The challenge of definition is using the terms of the system to label an entity that is outside of the system. Labels are based on the prior knowledges used in an individual’s sense of perception, whether political, social, theological, or medical. It becomes increasingly difficult to label something outside the system with terms of that system being destabilized. For the purposes of the time period being examined, the term monster will be used as a generic label for the phenomena under investigation.

11 Stephen Jay Gould, Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life (New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999), 50.

12 The monstrous is in reference to the extraordinary body. While this term could be interpreted as offensive or derogatory (especially when the species homo sapiens sapiens is being termed thus by other homo sapiens sapiens), the monstrous and the extraordinary should be approached as the non-mundane and beyond the ordinary.

13 John Adamson, The Princely Courts of Europe: 1500-1750 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), 17. Adamson states “The courtier’s firmament, to adapt a favourite trope of Baroque rhetoric, contained a constellation, not a blazing sun.”

14 Jan Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004), 6-7.

15 Ibid., 7.

16 Ibid., 6-7.

17 Celeste Olalquiaga, The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of The Kitsch Experience with Remarkable Objects of Art and Nature, Extraordinary Events, Eccentric Biography and Original Theory plus Many Wonderful Illustrations Selected by the Author (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998), 262. Olalquiaga writes about the phenomenon of the Feejee Mermaid and how it represented a “fossilized myth” to the audience. In the case of Gonzales, the audience sees an analogous phenomenon, this time a representative of a mythical race.

18 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, 8.

19 Ibid., 8.

20 Adamson, The Princely Courts of Europe, 13.

21 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, 8.

22 Ibid., 26.

23 Dunn, The Age of Religious Wars, 31.

24 Ibid., 32.

25 Ibid., 32.

26 Ibid., 32.

27 Dunn, The Age of Religious Wars, 29, 65. The maps display the religious affiliation of these regions.

28 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, 8,9,11,12.

29 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, viii, xi.

30 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, xi.

31 Ibid., viii.

32 Ibid., viii.

33 Ibid., vii. Bondeson only gives this status to Lazarus, the larger twin.

34 Ibid., ix – xi.

35 Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage: In England 1500-1800 (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1977), 68, 69 (graph).

36 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, viii – xiii.

37 Ibid., xi.

38 Herman Kinder and Werner Hilgemann, The Anchor Atlas of World History, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the French Revolution, translated by Ernest A. Menze, (New York: Anchor Books Doubleday, 1974)254-255.

39 Bondesman, The Two-Headed Boy, xi.

40 Ibid., xix.

41 Bondeson, xi. Another example of conjoined twins existing in positions of privilege is Cheng and Eng, who, after retiring, settled on a farm and owned slaves in North Carolina. The complicated status involving monstrosity, race, and power become fully realized in this unique situation. (See Andrea Stultman Dennett, “The Dime Museum Freak Show Reconfigured as Talk Show” in Freakery, 316.)

42 Adrian Room, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable: Millenium Edition (London: Cassell Publishing Ltd., 1999), s.v. “dwarf”. In the text, Ferry is listed third out of twenty-six prominent dwarfs in history and mythology. The dates of Ferry’s birth and death are far earlier than Bondeson’s account. Because of Bondeson’s in-depth account, as opposed to the encyclopedic sweep of Brewer’s, Bondeson appears the more trustworthy source.

43 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, 193.

44 Ibid., 194.

45 Ibid., 195-196.

46 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, 194 and John E. Morby, Dynasties of the World (Oxford: Oxford, 2002), 158.

47 Bondeson, The Two-Headed Boy, 194.

48 Ibid., 195-196.

49 Ibid., 196.

50 Ibid., 196.

51 Ibid., 196.

52 Ibid., 198.

53 Lindsey Hughes, “The Courts of Moscow and St Petersburg c. 1547-1725” in The Princely Courts of Europe, Adamson, ed., 311-312.

54 Hughes, “The Courts of Moscow and St Petersburg,” 312.

55 Paul Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace” in Freakery, 69-81. An analogous situation is the criticism of the television program Jerry Springer, where most of the contempt is directed at the audience, not necessarily the participants.

56 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 76.

57 Ibid., 76.

58 Ibid., 76. Semonin fails to mention why Rayer’s miracles were denounced. Rayer’s status as both monk and jester probably negatively influenced the Church’s decisions. If a jester mocks, how can the miracles be as valid as a pious monk? Another monk whose jests caused consternation was Rabelais.

59 Alison Jones, The Wordsworth Dictionary of Saints (Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1994), 41.

60 Ibid., 42.

61 Seminon, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 77.

62 Ibid., 77.

63 Stephen Jay Gould, Rocks of Ages, 108.

64 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 71.

65 Ibid., 72,73 (drawing from De Monstres et prodiges).

66 Ibid., 72.

67 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 71.

68 Hume in Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 71.

69 Research still needs to be conducted to determine whether other Christian groups condemned monster shows in early modern Europe. Since Gonzales, Colloredo, and Ferry were favorites in Catholic princely courts, the question remains whether there was criticism of monster shows in eighteenth century Europe.

70 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 74.

71 Ibid., 74.

72 Ibid., 79.

73 Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 1.

74 Paglia, Sexual Personae, 40.

75 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 74-79.

76 Leslie Fiedler, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 282.

77 Barasch in Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 79.

78 Dunn, The Age of Religious Wars, 89.

79 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 77-78.

80 Ibid., 77-78.

81 Ibid., 77.

82 In this context, paganism means the tropes of the Greek and Roman cosmologies (e.g. centaurs, sirens, et al.). There can also be regional variation, depending on the pre-Christian traditions and religions.

83 Paglia, Sexual Personae, 25.

84 Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason, 35-37.

85 Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace,” 77.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s