Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern France: Treatises by Caring Physicians and Surgeons (1581-1625)

Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern France: Treatises by Caring Physicians and Surgeons (1581-1625)

Distributed for Iter Press

412 pages
Paper $45.95 ISBN: 9780772721389 Published July 2013
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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