The Birth of Mankind: Otherwise Named, The Woman's Book, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Birth of Mankind

Otherwise Named, The Woman's Book, 1st Edition

Edited by Elaine Hobby

Routledge

350 pages

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Hardback: 9780754638186
pub: 2009-03-24
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Description

Between 1540 and 1654, The Byrth of Mankynde was a huge commercial success. Offering information on fertility, pregnancy, birth, and infant care, and written in a chatty, colloquial style, it influenced most other literary works of the period bearing on sex, reproduction, and childcare. Until now, this important text has been unavailable except for a microfilm of the 1654 edition. For this new annotated edition of the 1560 version, Elaine Hobby has modernized the spelling and included informative notes. In her critical introduction, she not only traces the development of the book from its German origins, but also shows how early-modern ideas about the reproductive process combined ancient, medieval, and contemporary conceptions. Combining editorial rigour with a concern for the needs of the informed non-specialist, Hobby has made available a text that will be useful to scholars and students in a range of academic disciplines, including literature, history, and women's studies.

Reviews

’… (an) outstanding new edition…Copiously but unobtrusively annotated, and scrupulously presented, Hobby's edition does a marvellous service to scholarship. She provides a clear account of the book's complicated textual history… Thomas Raynalde was committed to bringing hidden knowledge to light, and to making abstruse arts accessible to general readers. Elaine Hobby's own achievements are similar.’ Times Literary Supplement ’The great merits of Elaine Hobby’s meticulous edition are that she not only unravels the details of the multiple authorship, sources and printings of Birth of Mankind but also leaves open so many interesting routes for future scholars to take. The footnotes giving current English equivalents for word or phrases, and examples where the book is clearly reusing earlier sources, allow the modern reader not only to understand the details of the language but also to explore the relationship between the book and its precursors. …Those interested in book history, the reception of ancient medicine, sexuality, midwifery, recipes, language and childhood will find a wealth of possibilities in this important and timely edition.’ The British Society for Literature and Science ’The exhaustive volume of material Hobby has added to the book makes her edition of Raynalde’s The Birth of Mankind the definitive text for the modern reader. Furthermore, Hobby encourages her readers not just to enjoy Raynalde’s book passively, but to engage with its medical and philosophical notions by comparing it to the classical medical ideas formulated by the Greek Hippocratic corpus and the Galenic anatomy. She even recommends subject matter for future research. Overall, Hobby has transformed a neglected Early Modern curiosity into a notable work, which deserves its place alongside established Renaissance medical classics such as Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) and Jacques Ferrand’s A Treatise on Lovesickness (1623).’ Parergon '

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: The history of The Birth of Mankind; Humoral theory; Other common medical beliefs in the early-modern period; New anatomy in The Birth of Mankind; Illustrations in The Birth of Mankind; The 'authors' of The Birth of Mankind; Note on textual history. The Birth of Mankind: otherwise named The Woman's Book; Preface (albeit some Aristarchus may perhaps find some lack); Here beginneth the table of the present book; A prologue to the women readers; The first book; The second book; The third book; The fourth book. Appendices; Medical glossary; Bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Elaine Hobby is Professor of Seventeenth-Century Studies at Loughborough University, UK.

About the Series

Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity

Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity
For more than a decade now, Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity has provided a forum for groundbreaking work on the relations between literary and scientific discourses in Europe, during a period when both fields were in a crucial moment of historical formation. We welcome proposals that address the many overlaps between modes of imaginative writing typical of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”poetics, rhetoric, prose narrative, dramatic production, utopia”and the vocabularies, conceptual models, and intellectual methods of newly emergent 'scientific' fields such as medicine, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, psychology, mapping, mathematics, or natural history. In order to reflect the nature of intellectual inquiry during the period, the series is interdisciplinary in orientation and publishes monographs, edited collections, and selected critical editions of primary texts relevant to an understanding of the mutual implication of literary and scientific epistemologies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General