What Twins Can Teach Us

READ Research in English at Durham

twins2How have twins been viewed throughout history? Why do twins continue to fascinate us today? In this research conversation, Will Viney outlines his new research project, which aims to show the different ways in which twins have been used as tools of thought in science, myth, and literature.

Your new research project is a cultural study of twins across history and through literature. What got you interested in studying twins?

As an identical twin I grew up as an object of other people’s curiosity. Much of this curiosity seemed to be levelled at our appearance – “oh you’re so similar!” or “oh, how disappointing you’re not more alike!” I started paying closer attention to how and why people are interested in twins and I soon realised that a likeness in physical appearance is just one among many reasons why twins are treated differently to those born alone.

For example…

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