Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 879. Thursday, 2 December 1993.
Date: Wednesday, 1 Dec 1993 09:41:20 +0000
Last week in a seminar reading Comedy of Errors one of my students raised a
question I had not thought about directly. I have often referred to twins
as having an uncanny aspect which may contribute to a nightmare of lost
identity lurking around the comic confusions of the play. My student's
question, asking what might have been the notion of twins held by an
Elizabethan audience, reminded me that I was making a modern and sort of
commensensical observation rather than one based in some specific
historical or psychological context. Do we have any historicist data on
such things as the incidence of twins in the early modern period, the
medical view of twins, or the popular attitude toward the phenomenon?
Thanks, Tom B.