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Distributed for Iter Press

Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern France

Treatises by Caring Physicians and Surgeons (1581–1625)

These texts were written in the vernacular for a readership of physicians and surgeons but also of midwives and lay women. So they present important evidence that, contrary to stereotypes, women were the recipients of medical texts written specifically for them. More generally, these texts demonstrate a strong interest in women’s health, indicating that early modern physicians and surgeons had a new interest in the specificity of female anatomy and women’s diseases. The texts selected and translated in this volume allow the reader to access an important group of primary sources on issues related to women’s health, including childbirth and caesarean section, sterility, miscarriage, breastfeeding, etc. The selection of texts is well organized and coherent, the translation is accurate and fluent, and the texts are adequately annotated, so the book will be easily used by scholars and students, including undergraduates. It provides evidence of a new concern and attention for women’s health needs, which, most interestingly, often went hand-in-hand with the rejection of misogynist stereotypes and the challenging of conventional views of female subordination and inferiority.
—Gianna Pomata
Professor of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

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Reviews

"These texts were written in the vernacular for a readership of physicians and surgeons but also of midwives and lay women. So they present important evidence that, contrary to stereotypes, women were the recipients of medical texts written specifically for them. More generally, these texts demonstrate a strong interest in women’s health, indicating that early modern physicians and surgeons had a new interest in the specificity of female anatomy and women's diseases. The texts selected and translated in this volume allow the reader to access an important group of primary sources on issues related to women’s health, including childbirth and caesarean section,  sterility, miscarriage, breastfeeding, etc. The selection of texts is well organized and coherent, the translation is accurate and fluent, and the texts are adequately annotated, so the book will be easily used by scholars and students, including undergraduates. It provides evidence of a new concern and attention for women’s health needs, which, most interestingly, often went hand-in-hand with the rejection of misogynist stereotypes and the challenging of conventional views of female subordination and inferiority."
 

Gianna Pomata, Johns Hopkins University

Table of Contents

Table of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Conventions xiii
General Introduction xvi
François Rousset
Introduction 3
New Treatise on Hysterotomotoky, or Childbirth by Cesarean (1581) 16
Jean Liebault
Introduction 65
Three Books dealing with the Infirmities and Illnesses of Women (1582) 75
Jacques Guillemeau
Introduction 141
On the Safe Delivery of Women (1609) 154
Jacques Duval
Introduction 223
On Hermaphrodites, Deliveries of Women (1612) 237
Louis de Serres
Introduction 295
Treatise on Sterility among Women (1625) 303
Glossaries 349
Bibliography 373
Index 386

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