Inseparable : the original Siamese twins and their rendezvous with American history

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Abstract

With wry humour, Shakespearean profundity and trenchant insight, Yunte Huang brings to life the story of the famous Siamese twins.

Twins Chang and Eng Bunker (1811-1874), conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, were “discovered” in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. Yunte Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy showmen.

Their rise from freak-show celebrities to rich southern gentry; their marriage to two white sisters, resulting in twenty-one children; and their owning of slaves is here not just another sensational biography but an excavation of America’s historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal, for tyrannising the “other”—a tradition that, as Huang reveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Number of pages416
ISBN (Print)9780871404473
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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Bibliographical note

Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award 2018.

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