Bondeson examines historical cases of dwarfism, extreme corpulence, giantism, conjoined twins, dicephaly, and extreme hairiness; his broader theme, however, is the infinite range of human experience.
The dicephalous Tocci brothers and Lazarus Colloredo (from whose belly grew his malformed conjoined twin), the Swedish giant, and the king of Poland's dwarf--Bondeson considers these individuals not as "freaks" but as human beings born with sometimes appalling congenital deformities.
He makes full use of original French, German, Dutch, Polish, and Scandinavian sources and explores elements of ethnology, literature, and cultural history in his diagnoses.
Heavily illustrated with woodcuts, engravings, oil paintings, and photographs, The Two-Headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels combines a scientist's scrutiny with a humanist's wonder at the endurance of the human spirit.
Contents include: The Two Inseparable Brothers, and a Preface The Hairy Maid at the Harpsichord, The Stone-child The Woman Who Laid an Egg, The Strangest Miracle in the World, Some Words about Hog-faced Gentlewomen, Horned Humans, The Biddenden Maids, The Tocci Brothers, and Other Dicephali The King of Poland’s Court Dwarf, Daniel Cajanus, the Swedish Giant Daniel Lambert, the Human Colossus Cat-eating Englishmen and French Frog-swallowers.