Cover image for Inseparable : the original Siamese twins and their rendezvous with American history
Inseparable : the original Siamese twins and their rendezvous with American history
Inseparable : the original Siamese twins and their rendezvous with American history
Huang, Yunte, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a Division of W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Physical Description:
xxvi, 388 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
A portrait of nineteenth-century conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker describes their rise from savvy side-show celebrities to wealthy Southern gentry and discusses how their experiences reflected America's historical penchant for objectifying differences.

"With wry humor, Shakespearean profundity, and trenchant insight, Yunte Huang brings to life the story of America's most famous nineteenth-century Siamese twins. Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography, Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaited portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (1811-1874), twins conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, who were "discovered" in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almost implausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy showmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroads of rural America to bring "entertainment" to the Jacksonian mobs. Their rise from subhuman, 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 a Hawthorne-like excavation of America's historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal, for tyrannizing the "other"--a tradition that, as Huang reveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself." -- Publisher's description
In Siam. Siam -- The Chinese twins -- Cholera -- The king and us -- Departure -- First years. A curiosity in Boston -- The monster, or not -- Gotham city -- The city of brotherly love -- Knocking at the gate -- Racial freaks -- Sentimental education -- America on the road. The great eclipse -- A satirical tale -- The Lynnfield battle -- An intimate rebellion -- Old dominion -- Emancipation -- A parable -- America on the road -- The deep south -- Head bumps -- Look homeward, angel. Wilkesboro -- Traphill -- A universal truth -- Foursome -- Mount Airy, or Monticello -- The age of humbugs -- Minstrel freaks -- The Civil War and beyond. Seeing the elephant -- Reconstruction -- The last radiance of the setting sun -- Afterlife -- Epilogue: Mayberry, USA.
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