The marvelous hairy girls

WIESNER-HANKS Merry

The marvelous hairy girls

New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, 2009, XIII-248 p.

ISBN 978-0-300-12733-1

Résumé :

This book tells the extraordinary story of three sixteenth century sisters who, along with their father and brothers, were afflicted with an extremely rare genetic condition that made them unusually hairy. Amazingly, the Gonzales sisters were not mocked or shunned, but were welcomed in the courts of Europe, spending much of their lives among nobles, musicians and artists. Their double identity as humans and beats made them intriguing, and the girls and their father were the subjects not only of medical investigations but also of a considerable number of portraits, some of which still hang in European castles today.

Using the members of the Gonzales family as a lens, Merry Wiesner-Hanks considers their varied and wondrous times. The story of this family connects with every important change of their era-political and religious violence, colonial conquest, new forms of scholarship and science – and also provides insights into the complex relationship between bestliness, monstrosity and sex in early modern life.

Merry Wiesner-Hanks is distinguished professor of history , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her many books include the proze-winning Women and gender in early modern Europe (1993) and Christianity and sexuality in the early modern world (2000).


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