Twinkind: The Singular Significance of Twins
Thames & Hudson, 2023
Twins have captivated the imagination for centuries, occupying a unique place in our cultural and scientific history. Twinkind looks at twins in myth and legend; anatomy, sociology, and genetics; and as sources of spectacle, entertainment, and community.
Drawing on hundreds of striking and sometimes haunting illustrations, William Viney examines depictions of twins as protagonists in creation stories ranging from Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca in Aztec mythology to Artemis and Apollo in Greek legend. He describes how twins have featured prominently in scientific research across the centuries, but especially in the work of Francis Galton, whose study of twins on the behavioral question of heredity versus environment gave rise to the pseudoscience of eugenics in the late nineteenth century. Viney explores the representation of twins in art, photography, and film—from the works of Roger Ballen to the cinema of Stanley Kubrick—and delves into the darker meanings ascribed to twins across the millennia.