Event Date: 2 February 2017
Management Building Lecture Theatre
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX
Bedford Centre Lecture 2017
Professor Karen Harvey (Sheffield) – Mary Toft’s Monstrous Births of 1726: Then and Now
In 1726 Mary Toft gave birth to seventeen rabbits or parts of rabbits in Godalming, Surrey. Toft had looked at the animals during her pregnancy and their image was imprinted on her foetus. This engaging talk, based on new research, explores why so many contemporaries believed in the hoax, as well as examining why Toft pretended to give birth to rabbits. It also explores the social, physical and emotional experiences Toft underwent in the contexts of the work of contemporary midwives, gynaecologists and reproductive medicine.
Introduction by Dr Nicola Phillips (RHUL):