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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: February ::
Q: Renaissance Theory of Birth Defects
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 55.  Monday, 1 February 1993.
 
From:           Douglas Lanier <
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Date:           Monday, 1 Feb 1993 10:05:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Renaissance theories about birth defects
 
I would be interested in any references to Renaissance theories about the
causes of birth defects, particularly the notion that what a parent sees,
hears, or thinks about at the moment of conception will determine the
physiology of the child.  (Shylock's tale of the parti-colored lambs seems to
spring from this theory, as does Henry V's remarks to Katherine about the "poor
and untempering effect of my visage.")  Folk references or discussions of the
theory of this idea would be particularly useful.  Many thanks.
 
Sincerely,
 
Douglas Lanier
University of New Hampshire

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