The third recorded copy with a life-size plate of the conjoined fetus

Villeneuve, André-Charles-Louis. Description d'une monstruosité consistant en deux foetus humains accolés en sens inverse par le sommet de la tête, suivie des remarques et d'observations a ce sujet.

Paris, Gabon, 1831.

4to (204 x 256 mm). (2), 26 pp. With a large (59 x 21.5 cm) folding lithographed plate of the monstrous twins, signed Villain. Bound in mid-19th century marbled boards, rebacked with calf spine; all edges marbled in blue. Some foxing to upper margin of title-page and plate, not affecting lithographed image; 2 cm repaired closed tear to left margin of plate not encroaching on image.

Bound with another obstetrical monograph: Lobstein, Jean-Fréderic. Essai sur la Nutrition du Foetus. Strasbourg, Levrault, 1802. XVI, 150, (2) pp. with 2 engraved plates.


Extremely rare sole edition of this teratological monograph on a "monstrous birth" delivered to a 24-year Parisian woman on 15 November 1829. The large folding lithographed plate, according to a note in the text, "représente exactement et dans toutes ses proportions le double foetus qui a fait le sujet de notre travail" - i.e. is a life-size depiction of the foetus in question, which measured some "dix-neuf pouces" (48.5 cm).

The woman was in perfect health and had already delivered two healthy children; no remarkable signs were noted during this pregnancy or any of her previous pregnancies. Aside from its sensational life-sized lithograph, Villeneuve's treatise is devoted to a precise physical description of the foetus and to a discussion of competing theories for its genesis. The author, André-Charles-Louis Villeneuve (1781-1852), was a member of the Académie Royale de Médecine, sometime secretary of the Société de Médecine Pratique, and a collaborator on the 60 volumes of the Dictionaire des sciences médicales (1812-22).

Provenance: ownership stamp of "Dr. Jacques Schotte" (Belgian psychiatrist, 1928-2007?) on front pastedown. OCLC shows just 2 copies worldwide, at the BnF and Berlin.

Quérard, La France littéraire, ou Dictionnaire bibliographique des Savants X, 195. Not in Wellcome.

Art.-Nr.: BN#58838 Schlagwörter: , ,