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The Lives of Chang and EngSiam's Twins in Nineteenth-Century America$
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Joseph Andrew Orser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781469618302

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469618326.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

In and Chun

In and Chun

(p.9) Chapter One In and Chun
The Lives of Chang and Eng

Joseph Andrew Orser

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the life of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker, more famously known as the “Siamese twins,” in the United States. It first provides a background on the twins' birth and childhood in Siam before turning to a discussion of their arrival in Boston in the summer of 1829, courtesy of British merchant Robert Hunter and American sea captain Abel Coffin. It then considers how Chang and Eng became instruments that enabled the American public to get a fuller picture of Siam, and how Siam and the twins came to occupy a prominent spot in the way Americans imagined the Orient. It also examines how the twins' condition raised physical questions about the human anatomy and metaphysical questions about the nature of the self. Finally, the chapter assesses the impact of phrenology and physiognomy on the medical men who examined Chang and Eng.

Keywords:   conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, Siamese twins, United States, Siam, Boston, Robert Hunter, Abel Coffin, Orient, human anatomy

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